George W. Bush photo

Remarks on Launching the New White House Web Site and an Exchange With Reporters

August 31, 2001

The President. Jane, thanks, you did a great job. And thank all the folks who worked on it. I'm very impressed, and I think the people who access this web site will be impressed as well.

A couple of points I want to make: One, I appreciate so very much the web site being available in more than just one language. There are a lot of Spanish-speaking folks in America, and they'll be able to access the web site. And that's important because I want all Americans to understand that our priorities coming into the fall will be our economy, education, opportunity, and security. And concerned citizens can read about those four categories, those four priorities of the administration, across the web page.

I was particularly impressed that Barney plays a major role—[laughter]—in helping the young understand what's going on in Washington, DC. I say that somewhat in jest, but I'm very serious about the need for all of us involved in Government to do all we can to involve our citizenry in government. There is a lot of cynicism about politics in Washington, DC, and it seems like to me the more accessible Washington becomes, the more likely it is people will participate in the process. And clearly, one way to do so is across the web page. I appreciate so very much, Jane, your artistic talents and your creativity and the team that worked with you, as well. This page will be updated on a regular basis, obviously, as the news unfolds. But we'll be looking for more imaginative ways to continue people's interest in accessing the White House.

Finally, it's good to be here with the First Lady. As we say in Texas, she cut her teeth in libraries, and she, too, is concerned about making sure that information flows freely and that, as importantly, people are able to read what comes up on the screen.

As I said, education, the economy, opportunity, and security will be our priorities. And one of the things that I hope Congress does is work and act quickly on the education bill and get it to my desk as soon as they get back. It's an important piece of legislation. The House has passed a version; the Senate has passed a version. And I know that the leadership has had their teams working to resolve differences over the last couple of weeks. And I'm confident that if the will is there, they can get a bill to me quickly. I look forward to signing one.

I'd be glad to answer a few questions.

Funding the Legislative Agenda

Q. Sir, you talk about your priorities. Are you confident that the money will be there to fund all those priorities?

The President. Yes, I am, so long as Congress doesn't overspend.

Yes, Fournier [Ron Fournier, Associated Press].

Little League

Q. What is your reaction to this 12- or 14-year-old boy who—it turns out he is 14 years old, the Little Leaguer?

The President. Well, my answer is, I'm disappointed that adults would fudge the boy's age. I wasn't disappointed in his fastball and his slider; the guy was awesome. I mean, he's a great pitcher. But I was sorely disappointed that people felt like they could send in a false age—particularly when it comes to Little League baseball, of all places. And so Little League, I'm sure, will take the appropriate actions.

Q. What do you think the appropriate action is?

The President. I guess disqualification of the team. I'm sure there are rules at the Little League level.

Laura and I went to the Little League World Series. It was an amazing event, by the way. As I told them, I said, really, when I was a kid, I never dreamt that I would be standing in front of a bunch of Little Leaguers as President, but I did dream about making it to Williamsport as a Little League player.

Mexico and Immigration Policy

Q. Are you disappointed, sir, that you were unable to come up with more concrete agreement with Mexico on immigration?

The President. I'm thrilled at the progress we're making with Mexico. What you'll see is that our administrations, mine and that of Vicente Fox, are cooperating better than any administrations in the past on a wide range of issues. And I'm very pleased with the progress we're making. The immigration issue is one that is a complex issue. We've made progress on principles.

And President Fox knows that the issue will require more than just the administrations' involvement; it requires a willing Congress to address the issue. So we'll be discussing principles, starting with, people need to be treated well and treated respectfully. And then it makes sense for the United States to help match willing—a willing employee with a willing employer. It's in our Nation's interest, that if someone's looking for a worker, that we figure out how to combine the two.

And we made great progress. I was briefed this morning by Colin Powell and John Ashcroft on their meetings with their counterparts in Mexico. I think it's safe to say, without hyperbole, that the interaction between our administrations is the best it's ever been, of any administrations in the past.

High Speed Internet Access

Q. Mr. President, what role should the Federal Government play in helping deploy high speed Internet access?

The President. Helping?

Q. Deploy high speed Internet access?

The President. Well, a lot of that is going to be taking place through the market. And technology is such that areas that might not get access quickly as a result of no economies of purchase, or economies of scale, will be able to have Internet access.

I think, for example, of Crawford, Texas. It's a place where you're not going to generally get a lot of fiber optics, although I think there may be some there as a result of Laura's and my presence. Hopefully that high speed access will come as a result of—over the air as opposed to through fiber optics. And once we get over-the-air high speed access, then a lot of rural America that heretofore hasn't had access will get it. The technologies are evolving.

One of my concerns, of course, is the economic slowdown will perhaps slow down some of the progress made, as far as high speed access. And we've done something about it. I'm going to remind Congress that they need not overspend and should not overspend. It's going to affect economic growth; that all of us in Washington need to be thinking about how to grow the economy.

And I've laid out an economic growth plan, starting with tax relief. I hear there are some up here that are now secondguessing tax relief, and surely they're not advocating a tax increase, because if they are, they will find mighty resistance in the White House. Plus, that's bad economics. So for those who criticize the tax relief plan, the next step is, what do you have in mind? And if it's a tax increase, that would be bad for America.

Good to see everybody. Thank you. Fournier, we missed you in Crawford.

NOTE: The President spoke at 2:47 p.m. in the Executive Office of the President Library in the Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building. In his remarks, he referred to White House Webmaster Jane Cook; Little League player Danny Almonte; and President Vicente Fox of Mexico.

George W. Bush, Remarks on Launching the New White House Web Site and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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