Press Gaggle by Dana Perino and Dan Bartlett
White House Conference Center Briefing Room
9:56 A.M. EDT
MS. PERINO: We've brought a special guest with us today. Let me start off with acknowledging our good friend and colleague, Steve Holland. Today is his last day at the White House after 16 years. While covering President Bush, he's seen much of the world, and a lot of Crawford. A couple of points -- he was with the President -- the press corps that was stranded in Florida on September 11, 2001. I'm sure you'll never forget that. You covered the President's trip to New York to see the Twin Towers destruction later that week. He went on the two secret trips to Baghdad that the President has taken. He also went to Kabul. I think I speak on behalf of all of us when we say that you are our most favorite colleague here in the press briefing room, and we are going to miss you greatly. We look forward to seeing all the great things that you're going to do. (Applause.)
Let me run through today's schedule quickly, and then we'll go to the next item on our agenda. The President taped the radio address today. The topic is a recap of the initiatives announced this week, as we head into the trip to Europe next week for the G8. At 8:00 a.m. he had his normal briefings.
At 10:10 a.m. this morning the President will have a meeting with the Homeland Security Council on hurricane readiness for this year. That will be in the Situation Room, and we will do a photo release. In addition to that, Administrator Paulison, from FEMA, who will be there for that briefing, will go to the stakeout afterwards. That meeting starts at 10:10 a.m., so right after that. We'll try to give you an overhead announcement in case you want to grab him there at the stakeout.
At 1:20 p.m., the President is going to make remarks at a briefing on comprehensive immigration reform. That is in EEOB 350. It is pool for cameras, but open to correspondents. Secretary Gutierrez and Secretary Chertoff, as well as leaders of the business, Hispanic, agriculture, conservative, immigration rights and think tank communities will be there for that.
And at 2:55 p.m. today the President will have policy time on the G8. I'm not going to do a week ahead at today's gaggle, because you know what the week ahead is, and a detailed schedule will be coming out later today. And remember that you have the briefing today, on camera briefing at 12:30 p.m. is with Steve Hadley, the National Security Advisor, who will go over the trip with you.
Q: He departs Monday?
MS. PERINO: Monday, 7:00 a.m -- 7:00 a.m. or 7:15 a.m.
Q: Does he have a weekend schedule?
MS. PERINO: He'll just be here at the White House.
Q: Dana, on the immigration thing this afternoon, the President you said, makes remarks. Do you know how long they'll be? And then does he just disappear afterwards, and then there's a briefing after that, or what?
MS. PERINO: I think that's all correct, but I can't -- let's take that from the top. There will be this meeting, the Secretaries will be there. I think that when the press will come in, you'll see a little bit of that meeting, you'll hear from the President, and then I think the President departs.
Q: Is he going to make a statement on his departure Monday? And is he trying to soften his global image before he goes in terms of --
MS. PERINO: I don't think there are plans for him to make a statement upon departure on Monday. I'll let you know. I think we've had a very great week this week in announcing initiatives that the President has been building on over his time here at the White House. And --
Q: He seems to be making a 180 degree turn on the global climate.
MS. PERINO: I think that -- it was certainly a shift, but I would call it a shift into higher gear. And so I will come back at the end and talk to you a little bit more about that.
As you can see today, over here on the side, we have brought a very special guest with us to the briefing room, to the gaggle, Assistant to the President and Counselor Dan Bartlett. I'm going to turn the podium over to him in a few minutes. I just want to say a couple of words about him myself, about what he means to the White House staff, especially the communications and the press offices.
His title is Counselor to the President, but he's been much more than that. He's been a counselor to all of us, he's been a good friend. He really helps make it feel like a family atmosphere there in the White House. His door is always open. He's the very best part of my day, every day, and I mean Saturday and Sunday included in that. He's always available to us, by phone or BlackBerry, and always patient when we have to call him at all hours. And to Allyson, I apologize for all the interruptions over the years. I thank her for her patience. Very excited for the boys, that they're going to be able to have more time with their father.
Q: Are you the "goodbye girl" today?
MS. PERINO: Well, we are toasting Dan. All of us, I think, will be able to get a nice organized party organized for him. He'll be leaving around July 4th. And so I'll turn it over to him to say a few words and answer your questions about his departure. And then if there's more at the end, I'll take them.
Q: Is he leaving because Steve is leaving?
MS. PERINO: He didn't want him to go alone. (Laughter.)
MR. BARTLETT: They say it happens in threes. It's Steve Holland, Dan Bartlett, Tony Blair. We're all kind of -- (laughter.) Solidarity.
No, it's -- today is obviously a very emotional and difficult day, of mixed emotions, really. I've served this President, both as President and as governor of Texas now -- October will be -- would have been my 14th year.
I've -- in many different respects, have obviously experienced a lot working for this man and serving our country, but I've also become a husband and a father. And I've had competing families. And unfortunately, the Bush family has prevailed too many times, and it's high time for the Bartlett family to finally prevail. And it is with three young children, at this point, with about 600 days left in the administration, I felt that this was an appropriate time, since I was not going to be able to complete the eight-year term, to give the opportunity for the President, the Chief of Staff, to recruit other good, well-qualified people to come in and help this President accomplish a lot of important work on behalf of the American people.
So it is -- it was a decision I made, and when I talked to the President about it a couple weeks ago, he was incredibly gracious. He has created, as much as possible in the White House, a family-friendly work environment. But he, more than anyone, understands the constraints it puts on a family. And he knew I wouldn't have walked in that day and had that conversation with him if the gig wasn't really up. And he was disappointed, obviously, because we've traveled a long road together, but at the same time, I leave knowing that there's an incredibly experienced and gifted staff around this President, and a clear path forward for this administration and this President to accomplish more things on behalf of the American people.
Like I said, it's a -- it's been a long road, and it's been an incredibly exhilarating experience, fun. I can say honestly that the man I met almost 15 years ago is still the same person I know today, and it's what I admire the most about him. And I will miss him and my colleagues. They have -- any individual success I may have had is the direct result of the staff around me, both the communications staff, the press office, speech writing, the people behind the scenes that make the trains run and make those of us on the front lines look better. I couldn't do it without them, and it's been an enormous privilege. I say that to some of the previous members of the staff -- Ari Fleischer, who I talked to this morning, Scott McClellan, Nicole Wallace, Tucker Eskew, Karen Hughes, all the people who I have such a debt of gratitude towards.
And with that, if you have any questions, I'm happy to take them.
Q: Does this mark the start of an exodus of White House officials?
MR. BARTLETT: I wouldn't look at that way. I'd look at it as we enter a period with, like I said, 600 days left, where those who have to make the personal calculation, like I have, to determine whether they can serve out the term, as to whether they can or not. And if they decide that they can't serve out the full eight years, or four years, whatever their increment may be, I think it's a bit of an obligation to give the President and the Chief of Staff an opportunity to, like I said, to recruit other people who could come in and make their mark on behalf of this President.
So I can't predict future decisions, but I would say it wouldn't be uncommon. And if you look at previous administrations, this is one of those last natural reflection points where people are going to probably be making that decision over the course of the summer.
Q: Did you take into consideration at all in your decision the status the administration is in right now, the difficulties with Congress and the issues? Was that any bearing on your thinking?
MR. BARTLETT: Well, one thing I've learned working in the White House for as long as I have is that you can never pick a moment -- it's kind of like when maybe some of my fellow male colleagues who are struggling for that right moment to pop the question. You've just got to do it. You can't predict -- you can't say there's a perfect moment or not. You just -- you can try to plan it, you can try to do this, but in the end, you've got to go with your gut and your instinct. And my instinct told me this was the right time.
We've accomplished a lot. There are -- obviously, any time you work in the most powerful office in the world, there are going to be challenges, there are going to -- there's going to be work left undone. But there are a lot of, obviously, plenty of capable people who are going to help the President accomplish those challenges.
Q: It's not escaping the Titanic?
MR. BARTLETT: Oh, come on. I've been through every tough political battle this President has engaged in. I've relished the fight. I've been honored to be at his side, and they -- but I leave knowing that there is an enormously capable team there to fill whatever void I may leave, and make sure that we keep pursuing the President's goals.
Q: Did you think about staying for the whole term?
MR. BARTLETT: You obviously -- you have a hope. I think when I got here, nobody thinks you're going to serve eight years when we first came here. You kind of take it year by year, and then it became six months by six months, and then it became month by month. And it's just a -- like I said, you can't predict how your personal life is going to change with -- I thought my life was crazy with twin boys, now twin boys plus a four month -- four-and-a-half month old. It makes my day job seem easy.
And so circumstances change. And everybody would like to be able to say in a perfect world that you could serve out the term. But I think there's a reason why the average stay in a West Wing job is a lot less that what I actually put in, and it's because it's an enormous strain on the personal life of those who work here.
Q: What are the accomplishments you think have been achieved? And what is the naming in the way of goals for this administration in short time?
MR. BARTLETT: Well, I think that -- I won't spend a lot of time on it but the things that stick out to me is that this President has been somebody who's done in office what he said he would do. On the domestic front, he's helped lead an economic recovery that many people didn't think was possible after the attacks and recession that we faced as we came into office; the fundamental reforming of our public schools; the tax relief we passed, as I was talking about; other very important domestic reforms, the actions we've taken on providing energy security.
And then obviously on the foreign policy front, the response we -- this President led in responding to the attacks on our country, the efforts we have made to help lift people out of tyranny, are things that I personally will be very proud of playing a part in, and I know the President will. And there's obviously a lot of work to be done in the remaining time in this President's office. We're in the middle of a very important debate on immigration reform. There is more conversations and legislation being proposed on energy. There are -- and then obviously the hard but necessary work that's going on in the war on terror, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan.
So I'm proud of the accomplishments, the small role that I played in helping the President make those accomplishments a reality I'll take pride in, and I know that there's an incredibly capable team here to help take him across the finish line.
Q: Dan, a couple of structural things. When is your last day here?
MR. BARTLETT: Well, those things I've always been -- are a bit fluid, but my goal is right around the 4th of July holiday is what I'm targeting.
Q: Where are you going? Are you going to stay --
MR. BARTLETT: I don't know yet. I haven't ruled anything out. I'll be obviously --
Q: Back to Rockwall?
MR. BARTLETT: I can rule that out. (Laughter.)
Q: Rockwall gives its thanks.
MR. BARTLETT: I'm sure they do. But the -- it's very difficult inside jobs like this to truly understand what opportunities are there on the outside. I will be taking some time during this transition and then shortly thereafter to see what type of opportunities are there for me, that obviously the experiences I've had working at the highest level of government will hopefully give me an opportunity to do some interesting things post-life. I'll be out there being a strong advocate for this President, and look forward to getting some rest.
Q: One more thing. Are you disappointed that upon prolonged exposure to this President, the nation does not seem to share your admiration and respect for him?
MR. BARTLETT: I don't know if that's true, Ken. I think what you see in the sense of the current consternation and controversy is more wrapped around certain issues, and obviously the biggest issue being Iraq. And it brings out a lot of emotions in people, as does an issue like immigration.
But I think those who -- even some of the President's harshest critics, and I've seen them in person when they've talked to the President -- I think there's a personal amount of respect for him, they understand that this a person who is making decisions based on what he thinks is right for this country. I think it's one of those things -- one of those traits about him that actually earned his reelection was the fact that whatever you may think about his positions, you know that he's leading with the basis of doing what he thinks is right for the country. And that doesn't mean that people aren't going to disagree, and obviously there's disagreement about some of the policies he's pursued. But, you know, as I start entering this reflection period, it will be something that people will look back upon, and when the dust settles, I think there will be a more reflective assessment of this presidency and the person.
Q: Do you think he'd get reelected again if the Constitution was different?
MR. BARTLETT: I think he would join me and say, thankfully we don't have to go through another presidential campaign. I've -- he's hung up those spurs, and so have I. And that's a good thing.
Q: With your departure, a number of the original Texas team are now gone. How does that affect the President, not having people who he has a long, long personal history with in those close quarters making decisions and doing all that?
MR. BARTLETT: Well, I think all of us are still in his orbit and will still be a part of the family. And he stays in communication with those who have left the White House proper. But at the same time, he has developed strong, close, personal relationships with people who are from here, and people who have been working for this President for some time. Josh Bolten obviously comes to mind, Steve Hadley, others who were -- in the early days were great interpreters for us Texans who came up here, and showed us the ways of Washington.
And it's really the continuity of this White House as a great testament to the management style of this President, but also some of the people he surrounded himself with -- Andy Card. I'd be remiss if I didn't comment on him, an incredible friend he was to me and the leadership that he provided, in which he, knowing the management style the President liked, giving the type of breathing space for us rambunctious Texans to have, to maintain our relationship with the President, I think was a very important decision by Andy Card.
But I think there's -- the President is, like I said, he's advised by a lot of very smart, capable people, and we'll always be in the circle of friends.
Q: Was burnout a factor in your decision to leave, after six-and-a-half years?
MR. BARTLETT: People tell you you don't really know how tired you are until after you leave, and that probably will be the case. I'm so used to it, I don't even know what burnout means. Like I said, it's the sleepless nights at home right now that are probably more difficult on me than at the office. I don't really chalk it up to that, it's really more just a personal decision in which you have to -- at some point you're confronted with conflicting priorities, and I think -- an extraordinary amount of credit to my family, both my wife and obviously both of our sides of the family, to put up with everything we've gone through. When we traveled last summer for vacation, I had a White House communication unit in tow to set up a secure video conference so I could do conference calls throughout the day. I think that was kind of a -- it was an obvious --
Q: Do you think that might have been the tipping point? (Laughter.)
MR. BARTLETT: It's moments like that where it kind of crystalizes for you. It's more about that type of conflicting priority, that I just had to make the right decision for.
Q: What characteristics does your successor need, and what can he or she do to hold off lame duck status for the President?
MR. BARTLETT: Well, the good thing about working for this President is that he's very transparent, you know what he wants to do, and you don't have to guess where his views are, and what he wants to accomplish. And there's such a great team already here, that the person who comes in -- obviously we will be looking for somebody who has an enormous amount of experience and expertise, and with my primary responsibility being in the area of communications, to help advise the President on communications strategy. In general, the role of a counselor is to hopefully try to provide a broader strategic advisory role, and I'm sure we'll be able to find somebody to fill those shoes.
Q: Tell us what your hours have been like. When do you come in? When do you leave? And then you get caught up in things over the weekend, don't you?
MR. BARTLETT: Yes, it's -- I usually get to the office between 6:15 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. Since I've had my kids, I've tried to leave the office before 8:00 p.m., and I try to at least see my -- see the kids at least once or twice a week before they go to bed.
But what most people will tell you here, it's not as much the actual hours you're in the office. It's more about, you're never be able to turn it off, whether it's the BlackBerry calling, or the matching of stories, or the -- when certain newspapers put their Sunday edition up at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoons, and there goes your evening. It is working with the duty officers and those things. All those things kind of come with it, but more importantly than any of that is you're never able to turn it off. There's never -- as I said, when you travel for vacation, it's -- you bring your work in tow.
And my wife was commenting the other day that she -- that she said, I'm probably one of the few people in America who wakes up to the tapping of a BlackBerry in bed where I'm trying -- I'm already responding to things as I literally have not even put my feet on the floor.
Q: Romantic, no?
MR. BARTLETT: Yes. It's --
Q: I'm surprised you had --
MR. BARTLETT: Yes, yes, yes. Thanks, Bill. (Laughter.)
Q: You said the President has changed a lot in years you've served him?
MR. BARTLETT: Well, the core elements of him haven't changed as a person, which I found to be quite inspiring; that the things that have made him tick as a person are really the same things. I've called them the three "f"s: faith, family, and friends. And they've always stayed true to him. He's obviously changed in the job, and nobody could serve in the position that he's had and gone through the experiences he has, particularly after 9/11, and not changed as a person. It deeply affected him personally and professionally. And, obviously, that's why the policies that he's pursued have been what they are.
So I've seen him obviously start as a rookie candidate out on the hustings and the small counties of Texas in 1993. There were some pretty rough moments he will acknowledge I'm sure, himself.
Q: You went hunting once.
MR. BARTLETT: Yes, I remember that. Ken was there, as was I, in my famous --
Q: I believe there's video of it.
Q: He shot an endangered bird, or something --
MR. BARTLETT: That was my first experience in crisis communications since I was in charge of that event. (Laughter.)
Q: Are you going to write a book?
MR. BARTLETT: I don't plan to. I've had enough headaches dealing with books.
Q: Is he, and are you going to help?
MR. BARTLETT: You know, I wouldn't doubt it someday that he writes a book. And I'll help if he wants. He hasn't asked me to.
Q: What about the library?
MR. BARTLETT: I have no formal role envisioned. Any help that I could provide informally to Don Evans and those other folks who are helping lead that effort, I'll obviously offer my services. But nothing formal.
Q: Dan, do you want to talk about your own kind of progression, because you started out as, I guess, just his main only press aide. Now here you are, counselor, I guess one of the five closest people the President, if not three, right?
MR. BARTLETT: I started in a policy role back during the first campaign, and helped him develop his platform in which he ran for governor. I then worked in the policy office in the governor's office for two legislative sessions. So my communications experience kind of started more as a policy person and transitioned as I began working closer with Karen Hughes. And then I was issues director on his reelection campaign for governor, and that's really where the transitions kind of started toward doing -- putting a foot more in the communications world and it continued to evolve.
And like I said, I've got -- I give an enormous amount of gratitude to people who put me in positions in order to give me the chance to have an enormous amount of responsibility for somebody of a relatively young age, and that started, obviously, with -- I worked for Karl Rove before the campaign started, then worked for a guy named Vance McMahan, who was the policy director for then-Governor Bush. And then Karen Hughes, who put an enormous amount of trust in me.
But most importantly, the President. I could probably say with sincerity that for the first four years I worked for him, he probably didn't know my age. And because he's never one to say, how old are you, I'm not going to say. He just asked me questions, and if I knew the answer, he had confidence in me; if he didn't, he'd throw me to the side. And I kind of gained his trust early on. And as many of you know, and some of you who covered the 2000 campaign or others, I, for good or ill, became the keeper of the record. And I never thought that National Guard story would ever go away. (Laughter.) And obviously I developed at a very young age, in a very entry-level position, kind of a unique relationship with the candidate at the time and throughout the years because of my portfolio, handling a lot of his personal issues -- his business career, his military career, his life.
And so I know a lot of the people who are in his life. I know a lot of the people in his background. And by knowing so much about him, I've only grown in respect for him.
But it's -- I think it does say something about his management style that somebody at my young age can ascend to this position. And it's based on the fact that he's more worried about not my pedigree or how many degrees I have on the wall, but more about whether he trusts my judgment or not. And he's given me chances all along the way to prove myself wrong. And somehow I've avoided screwing up too bad. So it's been a remarkable experience.
Q: Dan, I had heard that the President, not too long ago, had referred to you as "Barty, my eight-year man." Is that right? (Laughter.)
MR. BARTLETT: I don't know about eight-year. I mean, he's -- there was a period where obviously he's -- you would expect those up here who came up here with him would hopefully stay to the finish. But at the same time, he also knows the demands of a family. And he particularly knew the demands of having twins. And we commiserate over that at times.
But at the same time, he couldn't have been more gracious. I kind of went in there --
Q: But it wasn't a surprise, though, right?
MR. BARTLETT: I don't -- I kind of wear my feelings on my sleeve. When I came in there to talk to him about it, he kind of broke the ice. He knew -- he said, I know you've been grinding on this; don't worry, I know you wouldn't come in here unless it was that time.
So, look, he's a pretty astute person, and we spend a lot of time together, so it's hard to hide those types of decisions as you wrangle with them. And like I said, he's been an enormous amount of -- I have an enormous amount of gratitude to him for the trust he's placed in me. He -- we have a lot of things in common, so -- Texas sports and commiserate over the Texas Rangers and things like that, so we know how to take the daily grind off our minds by talking about things back in Texas.
So it's been a -- like I said, it's been a great ride.
Q: We all know that the President will be in Kennebunkport around the 4th of July. Will you be there with him?
MR. BARTLETT: I don't know yet. That's a good question. I don't know.
Q: Because if not, then when will you say the final goodbye?
MR. BARTLETT: We'll make sure you know. But I'll be at the G8. We'll be on the trip -- and for the first bilateral I know you'll be interested in. And we'll go from there.
Q: Did he try to talk you out of it, Dan?
MR. BARTLETT: Look, he said he was disappointed. He knows -- look, I've been on -- I've dealt with a lot of people's departure, I've dealt with a lot of -- we just know each other too well that it's not one of those things where -- I wouldn't even go to him if he didn't know that it was time. And so it's -- it doesn't quite work that way, in a sense. And like I said, he knew the type of struggle I was having with the decision. So that's kind of how it works.
Q: Have you -- how do you think this will affect the internal dynamic? Because haven't sort of served at -- you can be a counterbalance sometimes to this strong personality internally, or a counterbalance in terms of that strong personality. You're pretty tight-knit -- the inner circle is fairly tight-knit and seems to play off of itself in interesting ways. Do you think that your departure will very much affect the decision making process internally?
MR. BARTLETT: Well, I think the fact you say we're close-knit demonstrates that we're a family, and it's not a matter of counter-balancing as it is complements -- we complement each other well; we have a diverse set of advisors who bring different perspectives to the table. And obviously, when we announce a replacement, that person will be able to provide that type of complement, as well.
So I think that -- like I said, from a personality standpoint, obviously in the role I played and the roles some of the other high-profile people in the White House play, there's -- a culture builds up around those personalities. But I've seen, as other people have left, I could never imagine a West Wing being operated without Andy Card roaming the halls, and it just had us -- the way the White House -- the presidency is bigger than the people, and that's not only the President, but it's the staff, as well. And we are expendable. And it is -- that's the nature of the job. I will miss what I do. I will miss my colleagues most. But the demands of the job require them to march on, and they will.
Q: Thanks, Dan. On Iraq, which you mentioned is probably the most significant issue of the President's tenure, how do you -- looking back, how do you feel like you've done, how do you feel like the President has done and the White House has done on communicating with the American people on that issue? Are there any moments or things that you wish you had done differently in communicating on that issue?
MR. BARTLETT: Well, I think there will be plenty of time down the road to reflect upon the decisions, as far as whether things could have been done differently or not. And I'm not going to look back right now. I'm just going to -- I'm going to look forward.
I will say, though, that there have been some enormous challenges when it comes to communications, that the differences between this war and, for example, the only real comparison a lot of people had was the '91 Gulf War. I was involved in the decisions to do embedding, and those things, which I think was a radical departure from how wars were covered previously. Torie Clarke really gets a lot of credit for that, but I helped her. We worked together on those concepts.
But I think it will be a challenge, not just for this President going forward, but for future Presidents because of the changing nature of not only the news cycle here in the Western media, but also satellite TV, Arab TV. We learned that very early on during the Afghanistan conflict when the Taliban was -- you know, you're not only dealing with this time zone, you have to deal with multiple time zones. And our government has tried to adapt and restructure ourselves to adapt to the -- that type of ideological warfare that takes place every day, and the propaganda warfare, the stuff that is being put out by the enemy. And it's a challenge.
And as the President has constantly talked about, our enemy is not only playing the tactics of violence, but they play in the tactics of propaganda, and it will be an enormous challenge for future presidencies, as well as this President.
So we try to adapt, and I think we have in a lot of different ways successfully. Are there things we can continue to do better? Absolutely. For example, the demands that have been put on our system, for example, with YouTube and those things for our soldiers -- I mean, these are all just very complex issues that, just as the media is struggling with this transition at times, so is government. But in this case, it has serious consequences because it's literally a matter of life and death when it comes to this war.
So we try to do what's right. We try to do it in an open, fair way. We try to err on the side of more access. We try to explain in as clear terms possible the stakes in which this -- why we're conducting this fight.
I remember vividly being summoned up -- me, Karen Hughes and Ari Fleischer being summoned up to the residence of the White House the Sunday after 9/11, in which the President warned us then that communicating this war was going to be very difficult because of the asymmetrical aspect of this war, that the further we got away from 9/11 the harder it was going to be to accomplish our communications goals.
So he was aware of it then, and his example of that was we had prepared for that day -- the next day to be -- him just to do a routine executive order on terror financing, the first terror financing. And he says, you don't understand, this is the first strike in the war on terror; we've got to make more out of this to explain to the American people the different nature of this war. It's very much just as much financial as it is kinetic military. And we did -- some of us who were here -- we did a Rose Garden event that next morning, at his request, to really highlight the fact that this was going to be unique in nature.
So I'm proud of the accomplishments we made. Like I said, there will be plenty of time to pick over some of the decisions I helped make and determine whether they were done right or wrong. I'm sure there are plenty that are right, and plenty that are wrong.
Q: A follow-up to that -- you just said the President asked you to think ahead in terms of explaining to the American people the complexities of this new war. What about explaining the same thing to the world public?
MR. BARTLETT: Absolutely --
Q: Was it prioritized correctly in your opinion? And in terms of --
MR. BARTLETT: The issue of multiple audiences is one of the most vexing challenges for communications now, and that we have to be constantly understanding and cognizant of the fact that there are multiple audiences, and different things mean different people [sic]. The President, for example, has talked about regretting using the word "crusade," for example, or "bring it on," those things while he was speaking to one specific audience -- "bring it on," showing that he had confidence in the U.S. military to do the job, that it could send a different signal to others, to the enemy.
So those are the type of things you -- that sometimes you've got to learn through experience. And nobody is perfect in those respects. I think we've gotten better at speaking to multiple audiences.
Q: Overall, are you satisfied with the results --
MR. BARTLETT: We can continue to do better --
Q: -- for the world?
MR. BARTLETT: No, we're never satisfied. I think we've made a lot of progress. Big government doesn't turn on a dime. We, unfortunately, have found that out in many different cases. So we're working on it, we've gotten better, but there's obviously a lot more work to do.
A couple more -- great. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
Q: Good luck.
MR. BARTLETT: Thank you.
MS. PERINO: Are we done? Are we done?
MS. PERINO: Okay.
Q: Why is Bartlett really leaving? (Laughter.)
MS. PERINO: We'll wait until he leaves. (Laughter.)
Q: Last year, the Secret Service and the White House signed a memorandum of understanding designating visitor records as presidential, and there's a newly disclosed move that makes visitor records at the Vice President's mansion secret. Why is the White House intent on keeping this information confidential?
MS. PERINO: Well, I'm not well versed on it. I'm aware that there's a matter that's in litigation, and we'll see if we can get back to you later today. I'll have Tony get back to you. *
Q: Is there something that --
MS. PERINO: We'll get back to you. I just don't know enough.
Q: Is there a successor --
MS. PERINO: There will be. Josh Bolten yesterday said that they have a few folks that they're talking to that they have in mind. But they're not ready to announce anybody yet. But they said that there will be somebody in place prior to Dan leaving so that there could be some overlap between the two.
Q: When you say "they're talking to," really it's the President talking to, right? Ultimately, it's just his decision on who he --
MS. PERINO: I already -- I'm not intimately involved in the search. I don't know if the President has met with anybody yet. When there is a decision and something is announced, we'll go back and do the tick-tock for you.
Q: Is it someone within the administration already, or outside?
MS. PERINO: I don't know, and yesterday he didn't say.
Q: Is there any chance of structural change, or he's going to plug somebody into that slot?
MS. PERINO: I think it's just too early to tell. Again, this is not news that all of us have had for a long time, some of us just overnight. So we don't know a lot more than that. And I don't think Josh Bolten, Chief of Staff, is prepared to say anything beyond what he said this morning. So as there are updates -- I would not expect anything before we get back from the G8 --
Q: He's going to G8?
MS. PERINO: Dan? Yes, Dan is going to the G8, right.
Q: Is the President planning to say anything new, or emphasize anything new during the immigration speech today?
MS. PERINO: I don't believe so, and I think that his remarks will just be more off the cuff. So I don't think that there's anything planned to be new. But we'll see how that goes at 1:20 p.m.
Q: Do you know if there will be a list of the people in attendance?
MS. PERINO: I think so. I think so. Let me see if we can get it for you.
Q: When Dan talked about the 600-day mark being an important decision making time, and although he said there's not going to be an exodus, is that sort of -- is there any kind of framework that Josh Bolten has for staffers, in terms of, we need you to commit for this much more time?
MS. PERINO: No, he hasn't said that, and I think that -- one of the things I heard Josh say yesterday was that it's really everyone's individual decision and everyone has their unique set of circumstances. Thankfully, I don't have three children under the age of four; I just have a dog. Those things are a little bit different.
Q: Troublesome dog. (Laughter.)
MS. PERINO: Yes, troublesome. Troublesome husband. (Laughter.) The dog is fine. (Laughter.)
Q: It's all about priorities, isn't it?
MS. PERINO: Hear, hear. So, no. And I think that there's some people -- there's a lot of new faces at the White House over the past year. And people that have, I think, joined in the last year have a different perspective on it than somebody who has been there as long as Dan has.
Q: Thank you.
END 10:35 A.M. EDT
*Quote by White House Deputy Press Secretary Tony Fratto:
"I can't comment on a case in litigation, and I can't speak to the decisions made by other administrations. It is important that the President be able to receive candid advice from his staff and other members of the Administration. To ensure that he receives candid advice, it is essential as a general matter that the advice remains confidential."
George W. Bush, Press Gaggle by Dana Perino and Dan Bartlett Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/275262