Press Gaggle by Scott McClellan
Aboard Air Force One
En route Crawford, Texas
12:47 P.M. EST
MR. McCLELLAN: Good afternoon and happy Thanksgiving to everybody. Let me run through the President's day.
The President had his usual briefing this morning., earlier this morning. Following that, the President signed the Intelligence Authorization Act, which includes the establishment of the 9/11 commission and he also announced that Dr. Henry Kissinger would be the chairman of that commission, that that's the President's appointee to the commission.
We will land here shortly in Crawford, where the President will spend his Thanksgiving weekend. I would like to reiterate that this has been a week of accomplishment for the American people, particularly on our two highest priorities -- protecting the American people and strengthening our economy, beginning this week with the signing of the Department of Homeland Security legislation to the terrorism insurance legislation to today's signing of the 9/11 commission.
And the President -- I just spoke to the President a short while ago. He looks forward to spending Thanksgiving with his family. That includes Mrs. Bush, his daughters, his parents, his brothers -- Marvin and Neil, and their families. And the President said that he -- I got a quote from the President. He said, "I'm grateful for the prayers of our citizens; for my family; for the privilege of living in America and for the freedoms we enjoy."
Q: Can you repeat that?
MR. McCLELLAN: "I'm grateful for the prayers of our citizens; for my family; for the privilege of living in America and for the freedoms we enjoy."
Q: Did he write that himself? Did he actually write that out, himself?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, that's my writing. Let me give you a little bit of information about Thanksgiving dinner at the Prairie Chapel Ranch.
Q: -- draft of it, or he actually he said it?
MR. McCLELLAN: He actually said it.
I think I mentioned all the family members that will be at the ranch tomorrow.
Q: Did you read out Doro, or is she not here?
MR. McCLELLAN: The ones that I gave you are the ones that are here. The President and Mrs. Bush; their daughters; President and Mrs. Barbara Bush: Marvin and Margaret Bush and their sons; and Neil Bush and his son. And Barney, Spot and Willie. Willie is the cat.
Q: There's children in the guest cabin, who's --
MR. McCLELLAN: It's family. Well, Reed. (Laughter.) We've got someone watching Reed. (Laughter.)
Let me go over the menu for tomorrow. Free range turkey, the turkey will be brined. For those of you, like me, who do not cook the turkey, that means soaked in water with salt and sugar to make it more tender, and then it will be roasted. They will have cornbread dressing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, fresh cranberry sauce, giblet gravy, fruit salad, green beans with anchovy and red peppers, crescent rolls. And for dessert, pumpkin pie and pecan pie.
Q: Does the President eat anchovies, or will he be picking them off of his green beans? (Laughter.)
MR. McCLELLAN: I'll take that question. (Laughter.)
Q: He doesn't like raw fish, he calls it "bait." (Laughter.)
MR. McCLELLAN: I don't know who's going to be eating what tomorrow, but I'm sure they'll have plenty -- as you can see, they'll have plenty to choose from.
Q: The total number of Bush family members?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the ones I gave you are the ones that will be there.
Q: How many kids?
MR. McCLELLAN: Twelve people from the family.
Q: It's just Neil and one son of his?
Q: Who cooks?
MR. McCLELLAN: I don't know. I'll see if I can find out. I don't have that information.
Q: Does the President cook?
MR. McCLELLAN: -- I'll ask that question.
Q: No church plans?
MR. McCLELLAN: At this point, I don't expect him to leave the ranch at all. Essentially, we have a full photo/travel lid for the weekend. If something changes, obviously we will call you guys.
Q: You mean through the weekend you don't expect him to leave?
MR. McCLELLAN: I don't expect him to.
Q: What will he do? Like, clear brush? Give us something. What's he going to do?
MR. McCLELLAN: Obviously, the President will be tending to official business while he's there. And he will -- like I said, he also looks forward to spending time with his family.
Q: Where will they all sleep? There's not room to sleep 12 people at the ranch.
MR. McCLELLAN: They have a guesthouse, and then they have the Governor's House.
And I want to let everybody know now that they should -- I want everybody to enjoy their Thanksgiving weekend as well. This should be viewed as a weekend like he's at Camp David. We'll have our press duty officers on call, they can be reached through the White House operator as always. Obviously, if there's anything breaking, then we will be available. But there are no plans to be at the filing center at this point.
Q: -- the weekend, including Saturday and Sunday?
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes.
Q: Has he been reading anything in particular at the moment? Do you know what he's reading?
MR. McCLELLAN: I'll ask him. Who's cooking and what is he reading.
Q: What did he give his daughters for their birthday?
MR. McCLELLAN: WE don't discuss the daughters.
Q: We discuss birthday presents, because we've had information on birthday presents before.
MR. McCLELLAN: Reading, birthday presents -- anything else? I've got the week ahead when you all are ready for that.
Q: -- going to beat the Cowboys?
MR. McCLELLAN: There's a big game in Texas this weekend, Texas-Texas A&M.
Let me run through the week ahead. Monday afternoon the President will participate in a photo opportunity with Tony Stewart. Does anybody know who Tony Stewart is? There you go, Dick Keil is a winner.
Q: Is Tony Stewart going to have special body guards to make sure he doesn't take a swing at the President?
MR. McCLELLAN: As Dick said, he's the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Champion. That will be in the Oval Office.
On Tuesday, the President travels to Shreveport, Louisiana and makes remarks at a Louisiana Rally. Reed Dickens will be there. Then travels to New Orleans to attend a Terrell for Senate Luncheon, before returning to Washington, D.C. that afternoon.
Wednesday, the President will participate in the lighting of the Menorah at the White House. Thursday, the President will meet with the President of Kenya and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia in the Cabinet Room. And that afternoon, the President will participate in the Pageant of Peace with Mrs. Bush.
And on Friday, the President will make remarks to USTR employees, United States Trade Representative employees.
Q: Thursday was the President of Kenya and who else?
MR. McCLELLAN: The Prime Minister of Ethiopia. Wednesday, the President will participate in the lighting of the Menorah at the White House.
Q: The Louisiana run-off has been a particularly negative race. Susie Terrell has run some pretty negative ads. Does the President disavow that kind of campaigning? I mean -- it brought that question to mind. I mean, does the President call on her to run a positive campaign?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think that, one, the President strongly supports her campaign and she is running on what she wants to accomplish for the people of Louisiana. The President believes she'll be a strong representative for the people of Louisiana in the United States Senate and will work with him on our key priorities: protecting the homeland to strengthening our economy.
Q: He doesn't have any objections to the tone of the campaign she's been running?
MR. McCLELLAN: I don't know all the -- what all goes on in individual races around the country. But as I said, that she is running on what she wants to accomplish for the people of Louisiana and the President strongly supports her in her efforts.
END 12:57 P.M EST
Scott McClellan, Press Gaggle by Scott McClellan Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/272179