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Press Briefing by Mary Ellen Glynn

September 15, 1995

The Briefing Room

1:20 P.M. EDT

MS. GLYNN: I'll begin with a statement from the -- well, it's by the Press Secretary, so I suppose Mike McCurry. (Laughter.)

President Clinton will meet with His Holiness Pope John Paul II on October 4th in Newark. The President will welcome the Pope on his arrival and they will meet privately to discuss issues of mutual interest. The Pope's visit will include religious services, meetings, and appearances in New Jersey, New York, and Maryland. And he will also address the U.N. General Assembly on October 5th; and then depart for Rome from Baltimore on October 8th.

Q: -- October 4th?

MS. GLYNN: October 4th, yes.

Q: Is that the only meeting between them? Is he going to see him when he's in Baltimore?

MS. GLYNN: No, that's the only meeting between them.

Q: Is the President doing anything else there, or is that a --

MS. GLYNN: No, I don't think so.

Q: Are there plans for the President to meet with Yeltsin at the United Nations?

MS. GLYNN: Not at this point in time, but we'll keep you posted on his schedule. We've still got a month.

Q: What about Qian Qichen of China?

MS. GLYNN: Same thing -- we'll keep you posted on his schedule. But there are no plans at this point.

As you know, Secretary Christopher is meeting with Foreign Minister Qian Qichen next week, I think. David? Next week, at the end of September -- two weeks. I'm sure that they will discuss that and other matters.

Q: Are we still going to California on Thursday and Friday?

MS. GLYNN: Yes, we are.

Q: Are you sure?

MS. GLYNN: Yes. We're going to San Diego to see my Mom. (Laughter.)

Q: We are?

Q: Will she be able to feed everyone? (Laughter.)

MS. GLYNN: We will be staying at her house.

Q: What if the Israelis and the PLO want to have a signing ceremony here at the White House?

MS. GLYNN: Well, I think it's a little bit early to speculate on an agreement that has not been reached yet. But we will keep you posted on that.

Q: Is there a possibility that plans could change?

MS. GLYNN: There's always a possibility that the President's schedule can change, as you all know better than me.

Q: Three questions on the trip next week. First of all, how much money do you expect to raise in these fundraisers?

MS. GLYNN: I will get you a breakdown of all those numbers. As you know, we expect to raise about $9 million by the end of the first quarter, which is at the end of September. And we'll get you a breakdown on the total numbers for next week.

Q: The second quarter --

MS. GLYNN: Second quarter -- excuse me.

Q: Second question --

Q: Third.

Q: No, this is my second. Common Cause is asking the President to commit to using the federal matching funds. They were concerned by this Boston Globe report which was that there were some questions at the White House about not using federal matching funds. Can you say categorically that he will be using federal matching funds?

MS. GLYNN: I can't say that, but I would steer you away from speculation in that direction. I think Leon Panetta, Chief of Staff Panetta addressed that last week when he said it was probably unlikely.

Q: Unlikely what?

Q: You can not categorically say that he will use matching funds?

MS. GLYNN: Right. But I think it is unlikely. I think we will probably accept matching funds.

Q: You would probably accept it?

MS. GLYNN: I believe so.

Q: My final question is, the President spent -- what -- a little over three weeks on vacation and has been campaigning basically ever since -- not ever since, but a couple of days in California and then work for a little while. Now he's going off for a whole week of campaign events, which I understand are going to be considered full-time campaign -- paid for by the campaign.

MS. GLYNN: There are some official events included in that, and the mix is -- it varies from day to day. There are some days when there are more political events and some days that are more official. So we will apportion the costs appropriately.

Q: That's different from what I heard from the campaign. They're saying they're going to pay all the costs because -- even the ones that are official. Not right?

MS. GLYNN: No, I believe there are some official costs.

Q: So they're mistaken? They are mistaken?

MS. GLYNN: I believe so. I will get you a breakdown of that, along with the money. But I believe some visits, some of our events are official.

Q: As Mike said yesterday.

Q: And he said that the official ones would still be paid for by the taxpayers, right?

MS. GLYNN: I believe so, yes.

Q: That's different from what the campaign is telling me.

Q: Can we get that --

MS. GLYNN: Absolutely. In 10 minutes, or so. (Laughter.) No, no -- believe me, it's a serious question, it's a serious issue, and people with law degrees are working on this.

Q: Uh-oh.

Q: Haven't you been watching the O.J. Simpson trial? (Laughter.)

Q: Setting aside the money, though, what about the fact of so much time being spent, especially at a time when so much is at stake right now, he's off campaigning, traveling around the country?

MS. GLYNN: Well, I think part of what he's doing is he's going around the country and talking to people about the budget. If you look at the schedule, there are events on Medicare and Medicaid. Those are two issues and two that are very important to the American people and very important to the budget fight. And what the President will be doing next week is he'll be talking to real people in Florida and in Denver and in California about how the budget affects them in their lives.

Q: Is there any evidence yet that the Bosnian Serbs have started to withdraw their heavy weapons from around Sarajevo?

MS. GLYNN: Yes. Apparently, Admiral Smith gave a briefing on this not too long ago, and he says he has seen some reports that some Bosnian Serb weapons have been gathered together and he expects to see some more move this evening. We'd like to see some more progress, though, faster. But I'd refer you to NATO for specifics on that.

Q: They're differentiating between gathering together, but actually pulling out. They haven't seen any evidence of weapons actually leaving as opposed to just being assembled. Is that what you're saying, too?

MS. GLYNN: Exactly. I would never want to contradict Admiral Smith.

Q: As the Senate welfare bill shapes up now, would the President sign it if it came to him in this form?

MS. GLYNN: I think it's a bit premature to talk about whether the President would sign the Senate welfare bill. It's moving in the right direction, and, as you know, Senator Daschle and Senator Dole are having talks about this today. But it's premature to talk about whether the President would sign it or not.

Q: From the President's standpoint, what more needs to be done to that legislation for it to become acceptable to him?

MS. GLYNN: Well, part of it has to do with child care funding. As you know, he'd like to increase child care funding.

Q: Does he want more than the $3 billion the Senate has added?

Q: He wants more than the $3 billion? You have not said that's acceptable?

MS. GLYNN: We're working to make the overall bill more acceptable. I don't really want to talk about specifics when they are fighting it out on the Hill right now.

Q: Is the signal being given that obviously any retreat from the Senate position in conference would make it that much more likely to be vetoed?

MS. GLYNN: I'm not going to speculate on a veto until we actually see the bill.

Q: How much effort are you really making on the Hill? It seems like you're sitting back and leaving it to Daschle and some of the others and simply commenting. Is there an active participation by the administration as the bill is being drafted to show your hand and simply tell these folks what you want and what you do not want?

MS. GLYNN: I think you can rest assured that we are working pretty actively on the Senate welfare bill. We're in touch with congressional staffs every single day. The President did his radio address on it, what, 10 days ago -- actually, almost two weeks ago now. And there have been many, many calls made on this issue. You can say -- as they say at the State Department, we are seized of the issue.

Q: Seized?

Q: Is the President going to offer any Medicare proposals of his own in this hastily thrown together event this afternoon?

MS. GLYNN: Chris Jennings.

MR. JENNINGS: Well, the answer is, the President has already outlined -- gave an outline of his Medicare proposal that would strengthen the Trust Fund, but you will not see any more specifics today.

Q: When will we see specifics, since the word from that podium was that when the Republicans released theirs you would release yours?

MR. JENNINGS: We're still waiting for them to release theirs. If you look through the document that was released yesterday, they are very, very short on specifics. There's nothing in that package that comes anywhere close to $270 billion in savings. We certainly hope that over a period of time, a very short period of time, that they do release the specifics so that there is an adequate period of time for the Congress and the American public to really fully understand what the implications are of these proposals.

Q: What is the President going to say this afternoon? Is he just going to raise -- do what Gingrich said and try to scare the old people? (Laughter.)

MR. JENNINGS: The President wants the American public to know the truth and he thinks that Speaker Gingrich's Medicare proposals are scary. I guess I would say only beyond that, the President's comments I think will speak for themselves.

Q: Mary Ellen, could we return to welfare for a minute? When you say that the President, the White House is working to make this bill acceptable, it certainly sounds like you think it is in the realm of possibility that this Congress will be able to come up with a bill that you all can approve. Is that correct?

MS. GLYNN: I don't even want to go that far. Of course, it's within the ability of Congress to come up with a welfare bill that we can live with. And, as I say, it's moving in the right direction. However, there are some -- I'm not willing to say that the President will sign it until we actually see the bill.

THE PRESS: Thank you.

END 1:28 P.M. EDT

William J. Clinton, Press Briefing by Mary Ellen Glynn Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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