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Remarks by the Press Secretary to the Pool

June 11, 1995

Lebanon Municipal Airport

Lebanon, New Hampshire

MR. MCCURRY: (in progress) -- we were there. We had no negotiations whatsoever about format or structure. The Speaker just said -- the Speaker's staff said to our staff, the two of them will show up and they'll talk and they'll take questions. And that was very, very instructive. As some of you know, lengthy negotiations over these types of appearances sometimes makes them very difficult to pull off, and the fact that this one was put together on very short notice was very encouraging.

Q: You aren't suggesting that this is the model for the debates that would occur during a presidential campaign?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, that is a question that has been -- look, this is not a presidential debate, as we said all along. It's an informal -- (inaudible) -- in a very informal setting. Presidential debates are much different types of event. But the value and utility in doing these unusual types of events is just a hallmark of the New Hampshire tradition. It's something that the President feels is very positive, a very positive to do.

Q: What if one of the declared candidates now for the Republican nomination came forward and said he wanted a similar forum --

MR. MCCURRY: No, this was a session involving the President of the Unite States and the Speaker of the House, the head of the Executive Branch of government and one of the leaders of the Legislative Branch of the government. (Inaudible) -- to host such an event themselves in their capacity as President and Majority Leader --

Q: But you said that more likely than not --

MR. MCCURRY: But, given the success of the format, this might be something that would lead the Republican candidates to agree that they should have amongst themselves a type of informal dialogue, face-to-face with the voters that they will see in Iowa and New Hampshire. And I suspect, based on utility and success of this session, that there will be many suggestions that the candidates may want to apply this exact format when they are in the New Hampshire or Iowa. What do you think?

Q: -- take that advice?

Q: Mike, isn't it more likely than not that the best thing that you guys say came out of this impromptu group on political reform is going to evolve into another political debate. When you get down to the nitty gritty, how many --

MR. MCCURRY: We don't know. We don't know. The President indicated after the session that he thought that was a very good idea, and that it comes from a member of the audience. And the Speaker embraced it, the President embraced it. And he gave instructions to us to explore with the Speaker's staff the next steps that would be required. So we'll meet with the Speaker's staff and see -- some discussion about names and procedures and how we can go from here.

Q: Do you think the President should have the bulk of the appointments on such a --

MR. MCCURRY: I don't want to -- I mean, clearly, in befitting the suggestion itself, the ideas of putting it together should come from both the congressional majority and the President and the Legislative Branch and from the Executive Branch.

Q: -- the test of the success of this kind of gathering?

MR. MCCURRY: No, no. The test of success for this gathering was whether in this informal setting these two leaders could have an opportunity to address the differences between them in a way that would help Americans understand what those differences are about. And --

Q: Do you think this was mutually beneficial to the President and the Speaker?

MR. MCCURRY: Sure. I'm sure the Speaker got something out of this, as did the President.

Q: Enhanced their standing with the American people?

MR. MCCURRY: I think the American people will like this type of dialogue between their leaders. And in that sense, both the President and the Speaker benefit, and, in a sense, all those who are elected leaders benefit when the American public have confidence that their leaders faithfully address an issue on the national agenda.

Thank you.

THE PRESS: Thank you.


William J. Clinton, Remarks by the Press Secretary to the Pool Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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