George W. Bush photo

Remarks on the Renovation of the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room and an Exchange With Reporters

August 02, 2006

White House Press Secretary Tony Snow. All right, well, never mind. See, every once in a while, hideous threats have a clarifying effect. And sometimes they make people make important choices, and apparently the threat of my singing has persuaded the President of the United States to intervene on yet another mission of peace.

Mr. President.

The President. Dee Dee, how are you doing?

Margaret J. "Dee Dee" Myers. Mr. President.

The President. Marlin, you're looking as pretty as ever.

M. Marlin Fitzwater. Thank you, Mr. President. Really good to see you.

The President. Sarah, good to see you.

Sarah Brady. How are you?

The President. Jim, really good to see you, sir. Thank you.

James S. Brady. Nice seeing you too.

Q. Speech, speech.

Q. Press conference.

Q. Welcome, Mr. President.

Q. We have a few questions, if you don't mind.

Q. Just a couple of questions.

The President. I know you've been complaining about the digs for a while. [Laughter] So this is like the end of an old era. And let me just say, we felt your pain. And so we decided, you know, to help you renovate and come up with a new Brady center.

And so I want to thank the former spinmeisters for joining me up here. Tell my people how to do it, will you? I mean, it's a—[laughter].

But anyway, Laura and I wanted to come by and wish you all the best as you get to move headquarters for a while. I look forward to welcome you back here in, I guess, 6 or 7 months. Is that right?

Q. Nine months. We hope.

Q. We're setting no timetables, Mr. President. [Laughter]

The President. That's what you get when you bring your crackpot up from Texas. [Laughter]

Q. No comment, sir. [Laughter]

The President. So, like, suede chairs? [Laughter] Is that what you're looking— kind of velvet armchairs? Armchairs. Everybody wants to be able to lean back.

It looks a little crowded in here. And so you want to double the size?

Q. Yes.

The President. Forget it. [Laughter] You get to work like the rest of us. We may have some air conditioning if we decide to. [Laughter]

Anyway, good luck in the new building. Looking forward to seeing you over there.

Q. Can we come see you?

The President. I don't know. Does the air conditioner work better there than here? [Laughter]

Q. Yes.

The President. The last time I had a press conference in here, it felt like it was outside. As a matter of fact, some of your makeup was running. [Laughter]

Q. Mr. President, should Mel Gibson be forgiven? [Laughter]

The President. Is that you and Gregory [David Gregory, NBC News] standing back there?

Q. I was there first. [Laughter]

The President. You know——

Q. ——complaining that the Jews start all the wars——

The President. Is that Sam Donaldson? [Laughter] Forget it. You're a has-been. We don't have to answer has-been's questions.

Q. Ooh!

Q. Mr. President, do you want to say a little about the White House press corps, please?

The President. Say something about the White House press corps?

Q. Yes, sir.

The President. It's a beautiful bunch of people. [Laughter]

Q. How about your best moment in here, sir? Can you remember your——

The President. My best moment in here is when my press conference ended. [Laughter]

Q. [Inaudible]—about Mel Gibson——

The President. I can't hear you; I'm over 60, just like you. [Laughter]

Q. ——Ronald Reagan could get away with that, sir.

The President. He was over 60 as well. At any rate, as you can tell, I'm thrilled to be here. [Laughter] But we do wish you all the best. Looking forward to being here when you kick off the new room. You deserve better than this. I appreciate the relationship with the press. I know these folks enjoyed the—enjoyed dealing with you—well, another crowd of you, been dealing with you as well. It's an important relationship.

Joe Lockhart. Some of the same crowd.

The President. Well, you're the head of the whole thing. Like, have you got a thing—a role to play?

Q. No, no, no.

The President. Okay, good. But anyway, good luck.

Q. What about Crawford?

The President. For those of you going to Crawford, saddle up. All right, good to see you.

Press Secretary Snow. Thank you, everybody.

NOTE: The President spoke at 1:57 p.m. in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House. Participating in the visit were former White House Press Secretaries Margaret J. "Dee Dee" Myers, M. Marlin Fitzwater, Joe Lockhart, Ron Nessen, and James S. Brady, and his wife, Sarah. In his remarks, he referred to ABC News national correspondent Sam Donaldson. A reporter referred to actor Mel Gibson.

George W. Bush, Remarks on the Renovation of the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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