Press Briefing by Ginny Terzano
Teton Village, Wyoming
10:40 A.M. MDT
MS. TERZANO: I have a couple things for you. The President is going to pretape the radio address this afternoon. He is golfing today, or just teed off at the Tee Time Pines Golf Course. He has three partners -- Mark Phibbs, who is a lawyer from the Jackson Hole area; Leslie Peterson, who is Mr. Phibbs' wife and former county commissioner and a Democratic activist. He is also golfing with Hank Sellett, who is the publisher of the local newspaper, the Jackson Hole News.
And then when he returns to the residence he's going to pretape the radio address, which is on three strikes and you're out, which is a part of the crime bill. And that is it.
Q: When will we be able to get the radio address, Ginny?
MS. TERZANO: He needs to record it first. And after he records it we will transcribe it. So this afternoon. Probably late this afternoon. It will be embargoed for tomorrow morning.
Q: Are we going to get audio?
MS. TERZANO: Yes. I talked to Chuck this morning; we will bring the tape back and we will feed it in our normal process. I don't have an exact time when he's doing it. It will be after his golf game.
Q: Is the local paper right that Barbra Streisand was at dinner last night?
MS. TERZANO: I don't believe she was. (Laughter.)
Q: Are you certain?
MS. TERZANO: I have checked as to whether Barbra Streisand is in town and we are pretty sure that she is not in town.
Q: Can you firm that up for later today, Ginny?
Q: Yes, we need to --
MS. TERZANO: Do you want a briefing on it later?
Q: Not a briefing, but just a statement or something. I mean, if she's here that's big.
MS. TERZANO: If she is here I will clarify it. But on a very good source, it's my understanding she is not here.
Q: Did Bob tell you that?
MS. TERZANO: No, Bill Nichols. He's the presidential golfer. (Laughter.)
Q: Who was at dinner with the President last night?
MS. TERZANO: It was a small group of friends who were invited at the invitation of Harrison Ford and his wife. And the President and the First Lady had a great time last evening, as you know by the time that they returned which was the wee hours of the morning. They, at one point, left the house and went for a long walk on the property together and commented how beautiful it was.
Q: This was the Rockefeller property?
MS. TERZANO: No, the Ford property. And at the request of the host of the dinner last night I don't have a guest list for you.
Q: What did they eat? Do you know anything about it?
MS. TERZANO: I do not know about the dinner.
Q: Were the President and Harrison Ford friends prior to this -- last evening?
MS. TERZANO: I think that they have met -- I think they met in 1992, but I don't believe that there is a longstanding relationship there. But I think they have met and crossed paths previously.
Q: Is he a Democrat of any conviction?
MS. TERZANO: I don't know. We can check the FEC records.
Q: As a former DNC spokesman.
MS. TERZANO: I don't know if he contributed in 1992, now that I'm thinking of it. (Laughter.)
Q: Ginny, did the President get a letter from Bob Dole criticizing his Bosnian policy?
MS. TERZANO: I'm not sure if he got a letter. It's my understanding that Senator Dole, either in a news interview or in comments earlier today, made some criticisms on the President's Bosnia initiatives. When Congress returns from their own recess we plan to brief the congressional members on Tony Lake's mission to Bosnia and on Mr. Holbrooke's mission, both of which we feel have been good meetings thus far.
I will double-check to see if there was a letter.
Q: How do you react to continued criticism? It seemed like it was on track after Lake and his missions, that you felt positive that there might be some solution or at least some stalemate.
MS. TERZANO: Yes, I mean, we are very encouraged by the meetings that Mr. Lake had, as we've indicated previously, and Mr. Holbrooke's and Ambassador Frazier's meetings are going well as -- are also going well. And Senator Dole has been critical of the administration on the issue of Bosnia in the past, and I think he's just reiterating his criticisms and his criticisms aren't new.
Q: He says that the plan as reported that Holbrooke is carrying around gives too much away to the Serbs.
MS. TERZANO: It's my understanding that Mr. Dole has not been briefed by administration officials on the U.S. initiative. So when Congress comes back we intend to fully brief congressional members and are willing to update Senator Dole on Mr. Lake's mission and Mr. Holbrooke's mission if in fact he requests.
Q: Are you afraid Dole could queer a deal by giving the Bosnian government reason to hold out?
MS. TERZANO: No.
Q: Is that a nice way of saying Senator Dole doesn't know what he's talking about?
MS. TERZANO: Senator Dole is a very smart man and I think he probably knows what he's talking about.
Q: Because we're lost out here in Jackson, but did something happen in the past couple of days that would have prompted this, or is this just he's out there on the Hustings and is just trying to get in the news?
MS. TERZANO: I can't speak for Senator Dole. You should call his office.
Q: Can we talk about Iraq a little bit? Yesterday you said there weren't any troop movements, and apparently, the Pentagon did move some people around.
MS. TERZANO: What I did way was that the Defense Department was holding an informational briefing on the Iraq situation. They have taken precautionary steps and the U.S. is doing what we believe is prudent, but there is no indication or threat of Iraqi troops being moved or deployed. And the DOD -- the Pentagon is going to brief later on that today, I think, fairly shortly, like about 30 minutes or within the hour.
Q: They've already said that Iraqi troops have been moved out of their normal barracks. They said that yesterday.
MS. TERZANO: There are some movements that are not unusual and not unexpected. Major troop movements -- we have no indication that there are major troop movements. And the Pentagon will be doing a briefing today on that, and the information will be coming out of the Pentagon today.
Q: There was one report that said that based on information from the two Iraqis who went to Jordan that they had told, according to sources, of a plan that Saddam is either going to attack Kuwait or Saudi Arabia. And this is information apparently they brought over. Is there any indication we're getting that kind of information from the Iraqis, and is that what caused the moving around of U.S. troops?
MS. TERZANO: I have no information on that, and the Pentagon will be briefing later today as will the State Department. And that's coming out of Washington.
Q: Have you talked to the President since yesterday?
MS. TERZANO: I have not talked to him today. I'm going to talk to him this afternoon.
Q: Is he playing golf?
MS. TERZANO: He is playing golf.
Q: How many did he do yesterday?
MS. TERZANO: He did 18 holes.
Q: Just 18?
MS. TERZANO: Yes.
Q: To return to the really important news today, can you explain how this Harrison Ford dinner was arranged?
MS. TERZANO: I believe Mr. Ford -- Jim Wolfensohn, who has a place here, has helped coordinate with the White House staff various activities that the President and the First Lady and Chelsea may be doing over the course of the next week and a half, including an invitation by Harrison Ford to invite the President and the First Lady over for dinner last night. And he had expressed an interest to have them over, and it was conveyed to the White House. And the President and the First Lady gladly accepted.
Q: It was conveyed via Wolfensohn? Ford told Wolfensohn --
MS. TERZANO: I think it was initially, but it was also conveyed by the Fords. And White House staff talked to the Fords a lot as they were planning the dinner.
Q: Besides the surprise birthday party, are there other parties like the Fords they've accepted invitations to?
MS. TERZANO: No. Tomorrow there is a surprise birthday party for the President that's going to be hosted by Jim Wolfensohn. And we will have more information for you on that tomorrow. I will give you a readout either tomorrow evening or Sunday on the birthday party. There is no coverage, as someone asked me yesterday. But Mr. Wolfensohn and his wife are putting that together. That's the only thing that's planned at this point.
Chelsea is arriving in Jackson Hole this afternoon, and while the President and the First Lady have not made firm plans on what they're going to do today and this evening, I think there's a high -- in all likelihood, they will go out to dinner tonight. But they have not made a final decision what they're going to do this evening.
Q: Eat in a restaurant as opposed to --
MS. TERZANO: Yes.
Q: Who is going to pick her up?
MS. TERZANO: I don't know. You should not expect the President to go out there.
Q: And is she flying commercially or is she flown in Air Force?
MS. TERZANO: I guess she's flying commercially today.
Q: So do we have any idea of schedule coming up, like events -- you had mentioned rodeos and other --
MS. TERZANO: Yes. And what he told me yesterday is that he wanted to talk to Chelsea, to just talk with her about what she wants to do. But he does want to go to the rodeo, and so he plans on doing that next week. And he wants to go hiking.
We will have more details, probably not until Monday, but next Saturday the President and the First Lady are going to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment which is women's suffrage at an event in Jackson Hole. And I do not have specifics on the time or the location, but that will be one public event that they are going to be doing. And I don't think we will be able to pin stuff down -- information down until probably Monday for you.
Q: Wyoming was the first state to approve that, wasn't it?
MS. TERZANO: Yes, exactly.
Q: I know my history, dammit. (Laughter.)
MS. TERZANO: Yes, the President is going to do it along with the First Lady.
Q: You're not giving us a list of last night, but was Mr. Wolfensohn among the guests?
MS. TERZANO: I don't know. But I will try to double check for you on that. I don't know if I will be able to have that answer.
Q: National Parks Day -- is that the day he's doing the environmental stuff?
MS. TERZANO: That is not finalized. National Park Day is next Friday, and there is a chance the President will have a public event in relation to that day. But we have not finalized it yet. And it would obviously be within this area --within a 70-mile radius of this area. (Laughter.)
Q: And the camping situation, are we now on to lodging rather than camping, or what is the status?
MS. TERZANO: We have made no plans for camping at this point.
Q: Do you know what he's going to radio tomorrow on, or when he does it?
MS. TERZANO: The radio address is on three strikes and you're out. It is going to be pretaped today, and he is going to talk about how the crime bill is working. And he will also have a little bit of information about a man who is, I believe, from the Midwest, but I'm not sure, who is the first person who is being jailed because it was his third violent crime. And it's the first time that this is being implemented in the new crime bill, and so he will talk about that.
Q: And so is that a good example or a bad example?
MS. TERZANO: It's a good example because what the President -- when he was fighting for this crime bill, three strikes and you're out was an important provision of this bill, and he worked hard at making sure that the Congress kept this included so that we could keep criminals off the streets, and especially criminals who engage in especially violent acts.
Q: Back on Iraq for a moment, Ginny. Has the President had to sign any deployment orders while he's been here? How's he being --
MS. TERZANO: He has not.
Q: Okay. So he hasn't had to approve any of what we're seeing?
MS. TERZANO: No.
Q: How's he being -- just once a day briefings on Iraq?
MS. TERZANO: He's being briefed as necessary. He does get a morning briefing which have primarily been on paper. He has had conversations with senior officials back in Washington, but they have been primarily on paper. He has had several conversations with Leon Panetta and Erskine Bowles. Leon Panetta is now on vacation, so Erskine Bowles is now the senior official back in Washington and to be in Jackson Hole this evening who has talked to the President. So he has been updated as necessary, not only on foreign policy issues, but on other issues as well.
Q: And would Erskine, when he gets here, be expected to give the President kind of wrap-up of the week's brief, or is he here sort of for golf and --
MS. TERZANO: Erskine will be serving dual purposes while he is here in Jackson Hole -- one as a senior advisor to the President, keeping him updated on necessary information; and two, I also believe serving as a golf partner.
Q: And when does he come?
MS. TERZANO: This evening.
Q: How long is he staying?
MS. TERZANO: He's here for the weekend. And then Bruce Lindsey comes out on Monday, and Bruce is here through the end. And then we move on to Hawaii, and Mike will meet us up in Hawaii.
Q: Any further discussions or movement, Ginny, on China questions?
MS. TERZANO: No.
Q: Is the President looking at all at re-election issues during this vacation?
MS. TERZANO: No. He is primarily here to spend time with his family and to relax and to do what most families do on vacation, and that is recreate and have fun. And that's where the majority of his time is being spent.
Q: Any personnel issues or anything looking at the campaign?
MS. TERZANO: No.
Q: Ginny, there are a couple --
MS. TERZANO: Let me just do one addendum. As we go about our day-to-day business, there are always circumstances that may come up on a number of subjects ranging from personnel issues to Cabinet secretaries having to work on a various issue of problem with their department or agency, and the President is very mindful of those and is being updated on any developments that may occur.
Q: Ginny, could you just give a -- on that same line, work an estimate of how much time total he's working? Is it like an hour a day added up or not that much?
MS. TERZANO: It's sort of hard to characterize that because he works throughout the day. I mean, in the morning, he gets news clips, and he reads them -- as he quizzes me about the articles that I haven't read. (Laughter.) And he gets his national security briefing, and throughout the day he takes phone calls and he has to make decisions on various subjects. And so, it's hard to characterize it.
I can honestly say that more of his time has been spent trying to relax and enjoy the free time out here in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and to spend time with his wife and Chelsea, who will be coming out here today. He is really trying to use this vacation as an opportunity to rest up and to enjoy the beauty of this part of the country and to spend time with his family. He's really looking forward to that.
Q: Are you doing this shtick tomorrow?
MS. TERZANO: Well, I'd like to talk to you about that. My recommendation would be, no, and to talk to the pool on Saturday and Sunday. And we will be around -- we have a staff schedule for the press office, but to just talk to the pool at least once a day on the weekend, and I will certainly be around, and I am always reachable on pager if you all are okay with that.
Q: The biggest thing would be schedule information on the weekend if he's going to go anywhere.
MS. TERZANO: Yes. And tomorrow is sort of a unique day because it is his birthday. So I think there might be a lot of activity other than just the birthday party. I think there's a good chance they'll go out and do something tomorrow.
And then Sunday, we don't have any indication as to what their plans are yet. But if you all are okay with that, that would be, I think, our preference.
Q: But no idea what those other activities might be tomorrow?
MS. TERZANO: At this point, no. I mean, I have to tell you, like any family he wants to talk to his daughter about what she wants to do as well. And so they're waiting for her to come in to talk to her about what she would like to do before they firm up their own plans. But I think you can expect them to go out and have fun. It's a vacation.
Q: Ginny, a couple of local groups that have been importuning the President to do things while he's here. There's a land swap in the valley here that they want him to look at. There's a proposed gold mine north of Yellowstone they want him to look at. Do you think he's going to do anything like that?
MS. TERZANO: No, there are no plans at this point. He is on a vacation with his family, looking forward to resting and having fun and going out and enjoy the outdoors. And that's where his focus and emphasis is going to be, and that's what the staff strongly encourages him to do. And I think that's what the press corps probably encourages him to do.
Q: This is far down in the future, but seriously, has he mentioned during the campaign next year whether he will vacation in general?
MS. TERZANO: No, he has never -- I mean, I have never heard him talk about vacationing -- next year in '96?
MS. TERZANO: I have never heard him talk about that.
Q: So like no decision at this point?
MS. TERZANO: Yes. I don't think it's ever been on the plate.
Q: If there does turn out to be a lot of public activity tomorrow or he's out and about, could you just make sure whoever is hanging on duty here knows as much as possible about whatever's going on, so in case people drop by --
MS. TERZANO: Oh, certainly. And I will be around. I just don't think we need to --
Q: Oh, that's fine.
MS. TERZANO: No, I'll be around, and we will be as helpful as possible. And the other thing, I think it makes most sense to give it to the pool because they're the ones who are obligated to work.
Q: A recreating question.
MS. TERZANO: Sure.
Q: Why isn't he jogging?
MS. TERZANO: I think because he's golfed so much. And this morning it was raining. I know that he had jogged in the rain before, but they returned home late last night, so I'm sure that they were tired from the evening last night. And the first day he was here he golfed 36 holes, and yesterday it was a good 18 holes.
Q: So it's not a health issue?
MS. TERZANO: Oh, no, no, no. No, he's getting his exercise.
Q: What about his allergies, are they acting up here?
MS. TERZANO: No. As a matter of fact, yesterday he commented about how fresh the air was, so I think that they have not been a problem.
Q: And he's been generally sort of having 8:00 a.m. wake-up calls?
MS. TERZANO: I don't know where you got that, Todd, but I think he wakes up when -- I think it's more of a natural wake-up.
Q: And is the First Lady working every day on her book?
MS. TERZANO: She's been working, she's been in the residence writing. Her book is -- Simon and Schuster put out a release, which I have here if you all want it -- a release earlier this summer where the book is expected to be finished in the fall. I don't remember the day, but it's expected to be finished in the fall. So she is working very hard on the book, and she also is working on her column as well -- as you know, it comes out weekly.
Q: Does she have staff with her?
MS. TERZANO: She has one staff person, Kelly Craighead.
Q: Has she been off campus with the exception of the Harrison Ford thing?
MS. TERZANO: No, she's been primarily at the residence.
Q: Is she getting paid for the book?
MS. TERZANO: I'd have to go back and look at the news release for you. I think she is getting paid and it's going to a charity, if I remember correctly. But let me put the release out for you because I think that's in the release.
THE PRESS: Thank you.
MS. TERZANO: Thank you.
END 11:00 A. M. MDT
William J. Clinton, Press Briefing by Ginny Terzano Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/269936