Press Gaggle with Dana Perino
Crawford Middle School
11:25 A.M. CDT
MS. PERINO: Good morning. I'll give you a little bit about the President's day, and then I'm going to give you a little bit of an update on next week.
The President had his intelligence briefing this morning. He continues to get regular updates on the foreign policy developments. He's been spending some time outdoors at his ranch, improving the land, of which, as you know, he takes great pride in, and spending time with Mrs. Bush and family friends throughout the week.
For next week, a couple of you have asked for some specifics. On Monday, August 22nd, the President will make remarks to the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention that's being held in Salt Lake City, Utah; open press. He will remain overnight in Donnelly, Idaho.
Tuesday, there are no public events, still he will be in Donnelly, Idaho. And Wednesday, August 24th, the President will make remarks on the war on terror, and that's in Nampa, Idaho. And then he'll return to the ranch that night.
With that, I'll happily take your questions.
Q: What's in Donnelly? What's he doing in Donnelly?
MS. PERINO: I'll see if I can get some more on that. I don't know.
Q: Is that a recreational stop, Donnelly?
MS. PERINO: I'll see what I can find for you. I don't have it right now.
Q: Does the President have any plans at all to meet with Cindy Sheehan? And what did you think about the latest, you know, thing where the crosses were destroyed along the road?
MS. PERINO: The President said in his -- last Thursday, when he spoke to you all after the defense meeting, that he sympathizes with her, he has met with her before. He said that one of the most cherished rights in America is the right to free speech and that she has a right to express her views. He does not agree with her views, but he says he respects her right to peacefully protest. But, other than that, I have nothing more to add.
Q: When President Bush signed the energy bill last week he said it was going to do nothing to immediately impact gas prices. But now you've got the prices up to $3 a gallon in some places. Is there nothing that the federal government can do to help Americans who are feeling it at the pump?
MS. PERINO: You're right, the energy bill was signed a week ago, on Monday. The President has long said that this is a problem that took decades to develop, it's not going to be solved overnight. The energy bill gives us an opportunity to get at the root causes of high energy prices. The energy bill he signed last week will help us diversify supply, so we'll be able to look for more supply here in America, as well as diversify supply, which is important, as we look for alternative and renewable fuels that will provide different types of fuel, as well as cleaner burning types of fuel, which will have a better impact on the environment.
The Department of Energy and EPA have a joint web site called, Fueleconomy.gov. This is a place where people can learn about gas mileage tips. One of the things that they have there are taken together some of the efficiencies that they lay out in terms of keeping your car in good shape, and other types of -- bundling trips so that you're only going one way in your car and you don't have to make several different trips. Taken together, you can achieve efficiencies that save up to a dollar of savings per gallon.
But there is no doubt that high gas prices have an impact on the economy, they're a drag on the economy. They have an impact on American families, especially those who are getting in the car for the last gasp of summer and trying to make a road trip, maybe to see the grandparents, and that does have an impact. It also has an impact on small businesses who rely on transportation, especially for deliveries -- or such as the trucking industry. So there's no doubt it has a high impact, but again, it's a problem that's developed over decades and it's not going to be resolved overnight.
Q: Will there be any press opportunity or photo opportunity on Saturday when the President is going to bike ride with Lance Armstrong?
MS. PERINO: I'll need to get back to you in terms of the press component, if there is any. But the President does look forward to Lance Armstrong coming to the ranch. He's a great friend of the President, has been a friend of his for many years. The President has said that Lance is an incredible inspiration to people from all walks of life, that he's a true American champion. So I think they'll enjoy their visit on Saturday.
Q: It will be the President and Lance Armstrong, or other people involved? How is it going to be organized?
MS. PERINO: Right now, I believe it's just the President and Lance Armstrong, but I will have to see if there's any more I can get. I have a request in.
Q: Do you expect them to race or just ride leisurely together?
MS. PERINO: I don't know. I think they do a little bit of different types of riding.
Q: Dana, can you tell -- I'm sorry, the overnight is Donnelly, Idaho, on Tuesday night, or Monday night?
MS. PERINO: On Monday and Tuesday night.
Q: In the same place, Donnelly, Idaho. Do you know how far that is from Boise?
MS. PERINO: I don't know how far that is from Boise, but I can -- we can look at a map and try to figure it out.
Q: I am, I can't find it. Okay. And Tuesday, he has no public schedule in Donnelly?
MS. PERINO: No, ma'am.
Q: Well, he must be doing something. Is he fishing with the Vice President?
MS. PERINO: This is all the information I have right now, and I can see if I can get you some more.
Q: Is there a vice presidential component to this trip? You don't know.
MS. PERINO: The Vice President? No, I don't believe so. I think -- no. Yes, Mark.
Q: Dana, beyond the words of his written statement last evening, was the President disappointed that the Iraqis did not meet the deadline for drafting a constitution?
MS. PERINO: No. The President said he is encouraged by the fact that all of the members that are working on the constitution are still at the table. He's encouraged by their commitment to finishing the process. You have the President's statement last night, as you said, and the transcript from Secretary Rice's briefing. It's only been a few hours since then, so the members that are writing the constitution continue to do that. And their shared commitment to getting this completed is very encouraging.
Q: How confident are you that they will complete it by the new deadline?
MS. PERINO: I'd refer you to Secretary Rice's comments yesterday.
Q: What do you think about how the Gaza pullout is going?
MS. PERINO: Again, you have the transcript from the President's interview with Israel TV, Channel 1, from last week. He supports Prime Minister Sharon and his bold initiatives and believes that this will strengthen Israel.
Q: Does the President plan any meetings or remarks on Social Security or immigration before going back to Washington?
MS. PERINO: I'll see if I can give you an update on that.
Q: Dana, this just came in -- lawyers for the Pope have asked President Bush to grant him immunity as a head of state concerning a church sex abuse lawsuit in Texas in which the Pope is named as a defendant. Reitzinger is named as an individual in the lawsuit, not as a cardinal or Pope, and was successfully served with the lawsuit earlier this year. Is President Bush inclined to grant him the immunity in that?
MS. PERINO: As you know, I've been sitting here. That breaking news just happened, so I'll have to get back to you.
Q: Has the President ruled out any kind of intervention in this possible Northwest Airlines stike?
MS. PERINO: I have nothing to add on what Trent Duffy provided you yesterday.
Is that it?
Q: Is there any White House response to reports over the weekend that unnamed senior officials are willing to accept less from Iraq than the President had said publicly?
MS. PERINO: I believe that people spoke to that over the weekend, and I'll see if there's anything else I can get you.
Q: What was the response over the weekend, do you remember?
MS. PERINO: Ambassador Khalilzad was out, and others.
Okay, thank you.
END 11:33 A.M. CDT
Dana Perino, Press Gaggle with Dana Perino Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/273023