June 30, 1910, Estelle Reel (R-WY), first woman in nation elected to statewide office and first woman confirmed by U.S. Senate to a federal post, retires after 12 years as U.S. Superintendent of Indian Schools.
July 1, 1991, President George H. W. Bush appoints Clarence Thomas to U.S.Supreme Court; previously served on U.S. Court of Appeals and as Chairman of U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
July 2, 1862, U.S. Rep. Justin Morrill (R-VT) wins passage of Land Grant Act, establishing colleges open to African-Americans, including such students as George Washington Carver.
July 3, 1986. At ceremony rededicating the Statue of Liberty, President Ronald Reagan honors immigrants from all nations who come “to build a new world of peace and freedom and hope”.
July 4, 1867, Republican Party is established in Georgia with racially-integrated state convention.
July 5, 1801, Birth of David Farragut, Tennessee-born Hispanic appointed by President Abraham Lincoln as first U.S. Navy Admiral.
July 6, 1854, First state Republican Party officially organized in Jackson, Michigan, to oppose Democrats’ pro-slavery policies.
July 7, 1981, President Ronald Reagan appoints first woman to U.S. Supreme Court, former Arizona Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor; as Republican legislator in Arizona, she was first woman to serve as Majority Leader in any state.
“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
From section 1 of the 14th Amendment, written in 1866 by Rep. John Bingham (R-OH), one of the founders of the Republican Party.
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Saturday, June 30, 2007
June 30, 1910, Estelle Reel (R-WY), first woman in nation elected to statewide office and first woman confirmed by U.S. Senate to a federal post, retires after 12 years as U.S. Superintendent of Indian Schools.
Posted by sookietex at 6:21 PM || ||
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|bush radio address 06/30/07 full audio, text transcript. President's Radio Address . In Focus: Renewal in Iraq|
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Next week, Americans will gather with friends and family to celebrate the Fourth of July. I look forward to spending this Independence Day in Martinsburg, West Virginia, with the men and women of the West Virginia Air National Guard.
On the Fourth of July we celebrate the courage and convictions of America's founders. We remember the spirit of liberty that led men from 13 different colonies to gather in Philadelphia and pen the Declaration of Independence. In that revolutionary document, they proclaimed our independence based on the belief that freedom was God's gift to all mankind.
To defend that freedom, the 56 signers of the Declaration pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. Their sacrifices built a new Nation and created a future of freedom for millions yet to be born.
Today, a new generation of Americans has stepped forward and volunteered to defend the ideals of our Nation's founding. Around the world, our brave men and women in uniform are facing danger to protect their fellow citizens from harm. In Afghanistan, our military and NATO forces are hunting down the Taliban and al Qaeda, and helping the Afghan people defend their young democracy. And in Iraq, American and Iraqi forces are standing with the nearly 12 million Iraqis who voted for a future of peace, and opposing ruthless enemies who want to bring down Iraq's democracy and turn that nation into a terrorist safe haven.
This week I traveled to the Naval War College in Rhode Island to give an update on the strategy we're pursuing in Iraq. This strategy is being led by a new commander, General David Petraeus, and a new Ambassador, Ryan Crocker. It recognizes that our top priority must be to help the Iraqi government and its security forces protect their population -- especially in Baghdad. And its goal is to help the Iraqis make progress toward reconciliation and build a free nation that respects the rights of its people, upholds the rule of law and is an ally in the war on terror.
So America has sent reinforcements to help the Iraqis secure their population, go after the terrorists, insurgents and militias that are inciting sectarian violence, and get the capital under control. The last of these reinforcements arrived in Iraq earlier this month, and the full surge has begun. One of our top commanders in Iraq, General Ray Odierno, put it this way, "We are beyond a surge of forces. We're now into a surge of operations."
Recently, we launched Operation Phantom Thunder, which has taken the fight to the enemy in Baghdad, as well as the surrounding regions. We're still at the beginning of this offensive, but we're seeing some hopeful signs. We're engaging the enemy, and killing or capturing hundreds. Just this week, our commanders reported the killing of two senior al Qaeda leaders north of Baghdad. Within Baghdad, our military reports that despite an upward trend in May, sectarian murders in the capital are significantly down from what they were in January. We're also finding arms caches at more than three times the rate of a year ago.
The enemy continues to carry out sensational attacks, but the number of car bombings and suicide attacks has been down in May and June. And because of our new strategy, U.S. and Iraqi forces are living among the people they secure, with the result that many Iraqis are now coming forward with information on where the terrorists are hiding.
The fight in Iraq has been tough, and it will remain difficult. We've lost good men and women in this fight. One of those lost was a Marine Lance Corporal named Luke Yepsen. In the spring of 2005, Luke withdrew from his classes at Texas A&M to join the United States Marines. And in October 2006, he deployed to Iraq, where he manned a 50-caliber machine gun on a Humvee. Six months ago, Luke was killed by a sniper while on patrol in Anbar province. Luke's father describes his son's sacrifice this way: "Luke died bringing freedom to an oppressed people. My urgent request is ... finish the mission. Bring freedom to the Iraqi people."
On this Fourth of July, we remember Luke Yepsen and all the men and women in uniform who have given their lives in this struggle. They've helped bring freedom to the Iraqi people. They've helped make Americans more secure. We will not forget their sacrifice. We remember their loved ones in our prayers. And we give thanks for all those from every generation who have defended our Nation and our freedoms.
Laura and I wish you a safe and happy Fourth of July. Thank you for listening. END
For Immediate Release, Office of the Press Secretary, June 30, 2007
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Posted by sookietex at 5:37 PM || ||
|forre el audio de la dirección de radio 06/30/07 por completo, transcripción del texto. (nota de los redactores: ninguna lengua española mp3 lanzó esta semana, apesadumbrada) PODCAST|
Buenos días. La próxima semana, los estadounidenses se reunirán con sus amigos y familiares para celebrar el Cuatro de Julio. Estoy deseoso de pasar este Día de la Independencia en Martinsburg, West Virginia, con los hombres y mujeres de la Guardia Aérea Nacional de West Virginia.
El Cuatro de Julio celebramos el valor y las convicciones de los fundadores de Estados Unidos. Recordamos el espíritu de libertad que llevó a hombres de 13 colonias a congregarse en Filadelfia y redactar la Declaración de Independencia. En ese revolucionario documento, proclamaron nuestra independencia basándose en la convicción de que la libertad es el don de Dios a toda la humanidad. Para defender esa libertad, los cincuenta y seis firmantes de la Declaración, comprometieron su vida, su fortuna y su honor sagrado. Sus sacrificios forjaron una nueva nación y crearon un futuro de libertad para millones de personas que todavía no habían nacido.
Hoy, una nueva generación de estadounidenses se ha hecho presente, ofreciéndose voluntariamente para defender los ideales de la fundación de nuestra patria. En todo el mundo, nuestros valientes hombres y mujeres de uniforme arriesgan la vida para proteger a nuestros conciudadanos del peligro. En Afganistán, nuestras fuerzas armadas y fuerzas de la OTAN están yendo tras el Talibán y Al Qaida, y ayudando al pueblo afgano a defender su joven democracia. Y en Iraq, las fuerzas de Estados Unidos e Iraq están de lado de los casi 12 millones de iraquíes que votaron por un futuro de paz en oposición a enemigos inmisericordes que desean destruir la democracia en Iraq y convertir a ese país en un refugio para terroristas.
Esta semana viajé al Naval War College en Rhode Island para presentar un informe actualizado de la estrategia que estamos implementando en Iraq. Un nuevo comandante, el General David Petraeus, y un nuevo embajador, Ryan Crocker, dirigen esta estrategia, que reconoce que nuestra principal prioridad debe ser ayudar al gobierno iraquí y a sus fuerzas de seguridad a proteger a su población, especialmente en Bagdad. Y su objetivo es ayudar a los iraquíes a avanzar hacia la reconciliación y forjar una nación libre que respete los derechos de su pueblo, defienda el estado de derecho y sea un aliado en la guerra contra el terrorismo. Entonces, Estados Unidos ha enviado refuerzos para ayudar a los iraquíes a resguardar a su población, perseguir a los terroristas, insurgentes y milicias que incitan la violencia sectaria y a asumir el control de la capital.
Los últimos de estos refuerzos llegaron a Iraq a principios de este mes, y la estrategia de intensificación ha empezado. Uno de nuestros principales comandantes en Iraq, el general Ray Odierno, lo puso de la siguiente manera: "Ya pasamos el punto de aumento de tropas, y hemos iniciado un aumento de operaciones". Recientemente, lanzamos la Operación Trueno Fantasma que está llevando la lucha al enemigo en Bagdad, así como en las regiones circundantes.
Todavía estamos a inicios de esta ofensiva, pero estamos viendo algunas señales alentadoras. Estamos enfrentándonos al enemigo y eliminando o capturando a cientos. Sólo esta semana, nuestros comandantes informaron haber acabado con dos líderes principales de Al Qaida al norte de Bagdad. Dentro de Bagdad, nuestro ejército informa que a pesar de la escalada en mayo, los asesinatos sectarios en la capital se han reducido significativamente con relación a enero. También estamos encontrando un número tres veces mayor de armas escondidas en comparación con el año anterior. El enemigo sigue llevando a cabo ataques sensacionalistas, pero el número de coches bomba y ataques suicida disminuyó en mayo y junio. Y debido a nuestra nueva estrategia, los soldados de Iraq y Estados Unidos están viviendo entre la gente que resguardan, lo que ha llevado a que muchos iraquíes proporcionen información acerca de los escondites de los terroristas.
La lucha en Iraq ha sido difícil y seguirá siendo difícil. Hemos perdido a valiosos hombres y mujeres en este conflicto. Entre ellos está un cabo de la Infantería de Marina llamado Luke Yepsen. En la primavera del 2005, Luke se retiró de sus clases en Texas A&M para alistarse en la Infantería de Marina de Estados Unidos. Y en octubre del 2006, fue enviado a Iraq, donde estaba a cargo de una ametralladora de calibre .50 montada sobre un Humvee. Hace seis meses, un francotirador mató a Luke mientras estaba de patrulla en la provincia de Anbar. El padre de Luke describe el sacrificio de su hijo de esta manera: "Luke murió mientras llevaba libertad a un pueblo oprimido. Mi pedido urgente es completen la misión. Lleven libertad al pueblo iraquí".
Este Cuatro de Julio, recordamos a Luke Yepsen y a todos los hombres y mujeres de uniforme que dieron la vida en esta lucha. Han ayudado a llevar libertad al pueblo iraquí y han ayudado a que los estadounidenses estén más seguros. No olvidaremos su sacrificio. Recordamos a sus seres queridos en nuestras oraciones. Y damos las gracias por los miembros de cada generación que defendieron nuestra patria y nuestras libertades.
Laura y yo les deseamos un seguro y feliz Cuatro de Julio. Gracias por escuchar. ###
Para su publicación inmediata, Oficina del Secretario de Prensa, 30 de junio de 2007
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Friday, June 29, 2007
|Army Efforts Contribute to Removal of Bald Eagle from Endangered Species List. Jun 28, 2007, BY Robert DiMichele High Resolution Image|
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Army News Service, June 28, 2007) - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today the removal of the bald eagle from the list of threatened and endangered species.
- Bald Eagles - Soaring Once Again
- Public Domain Footage of Bald Eagle
- Bald Eagle Delisting Ceremony Highlights
Army environmental stewardship efforts played an important role in bringing the bald eagle back from the brink of extinction, according to Michael Dette, chief of natural resources at the U.S. Army Environmental Command.
Fifty-eight Army installations report bald eagles living on or near its properties. In fact, the bald eagle has been the most common threatened or endangered species reported on Army installations.
The species rebounded in the last 40 years, largely due to the government's banning of DDT in 1972 and the protections provided by listing the bald eagles the Endangered Species Act. Based on the most recent population figures, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates there are at least 9,789 nesting pairs of bald eagles in the contiguous United States.
"Removing the bald eagle, the symbol of our country, from the list of threatened and endangered species is a great environmental triumph. It provides a tangible example of how far our nation and its military have progressed as environmental stewards," said Col. Michael P. O'Keefe, commander of the U.S. Army Environmental Command.
Army installations apply a number of different natural resource-management practices to protect the bald eagle and its habitat, according to Mr. Dette. Typically, garrison staffs work to maintain and improve forested habitat for both breeding and non-breeding eagles, minimize human disturbance in nesting and wintering areas, maintain and improve the availability and quality of food supplies, and minimize direct hazards to bald eagles. Installations identify special management areas around eagle nests, and evaluate proposed activities within these areas for impacts on the bald eagle population.
For example, on some installations, forest management, harvest and thinning activities are limited to mid-July through mid-December to prevent disruptions to nesting eagles. Army forest-management practices, such as timber rotation and the retention of snags, also improve eagle-nesting habitat.
In addition, Army wildlife specialists pay special attention to the potential for electrocution or collisions with power or communication lines, installing deflectors, avoidance devices, insulators or perch guards where there is a risk to eagles.
"Bald eagles thrive on our installations because of decades of sound stewardship practiced by Army Soldiers and Civilians. This success story highlights just one of many innovative and diligent efforts going on every day to sustain our precious natural resources," Col. O'Keefe said.
The Army successfully protects more than 170 threatened and endangered species on its installations, to include the red cockaded woodpecker and the gray wolf. The Army and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service celebrated the recovery of the red cockaded woodpecker population on Fort Bragg last summer, five years ahead of schedule.
While the bald eagle has been removed from the list of threatened and endangered species, it will continue to be managed under both the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. On June 5, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service opened a 90-day public comment period on a proposal to create a permit program to authorize limited "take," or accidental killing or injury, of bald and golden eagles where the take is associated with, and not the purpose of, otherwise lawful activities.
When America formally adopted the bald eagle as the national symbol in 1782, as many as 100,000 nested in what would become the lower 48 states. By 1963, though, only 417 nesting pairs remained and the species was in danger of extinction. Loss of habitat, shooting for feathers and poisoning by the pesticide DDT all contributed to its near extinction.
(Robert DiMichele writes for the U.S. Army Environmental Command.)
Related Bald Eagle and Endangered Species List or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Servic and VIDEO, or MSU professors spearhead international water project or This Day in History Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Admiral Mike Mullen Biography
Posted by sookietex at 9:31 PM || ||
Thursday, June 28, 2007
|Admiral Mike Mullen Chief of Naval Operations|
A native of Los Angeles, Admiral Mullen graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1968. He has served in Allied, Joint and Navy positions, overseas and in both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets.
Ashore, Adm. Mullen served as Company Officer and Executive Assistant to the Commandant of Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy. He also served in the Bureau of Naval Personnel as Director, Surface Officer Distribution and in the Office of the Secretary of Defense on the staff of the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation. On the Chief of Naval Operations' staff, Adm. Mullen served as Deputy Director and Director of Surface Warfare; Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Resources, Requirements, and Assessments (N8); and as the 32nd Vice Chief of Naval Operations.
Adm. Mullen graduated from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., with a Master of Science degree in Operations Research. He is also a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School.
Adm. Mullen's last operational assignment was Commander, Joint Force Command Naples/Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe. Based in Naples, Italy, he had operational responsibility for NATO missions in the Balkans, Iraq, and the Mediterranean as well as providing overall command, operational control, and coordination of U.S. naval forces in the European Command area of responsibility.
Admiral Mullen became the 28th Chief of Naval Operations on July 22, 2005.
On June 8, 2007, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced that he would advise President George W. Bush to nominate Admiral Mullen to replace current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace. Pace's term will expire on September 30, 2007. If approved, Mullen will become the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to have been born after the conclusion of WWII.
Admiral Mullen has two sons, Michael and John.
- "Without mastery of the sea -- without Sea Power -- we cannot protect trade, we cannot help those in peril, we cannot provide relief from natural disaster, and we cannot intercede when whole societies are torn asunder by slavery, weapons of mass destruction, drugs, and piracy. Without sea power we cannot hope -- the world cannot hope -- to achieve what President Bush has called 'a balance of power that favors freedom." (To the Current Strategy Forum, 31 August 2005 at the Naval War College Newport, R.I.).
- "The Navy is first and foremost a fighting, sea-going service — always has been. The weapons and technology change. The ships, aircraft, and submarines certainly improve over time, but the job remains the same: to take the fight to the enemy so that he cannot take it to us." (From All Ahead Full — Message to the men and women of the United States Navy, 23 July 2005).
- "Today the Navy grants me yet another great opportunity, and I intend to make good on my obligation in return. Listen. Learn. And lead. Those will be my watchwords these next four years — a challenge to myself and to all of you."
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|President Bush Nominates Admiral Michael Mullen and General James Cartwright to, Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Roosevelt Room, FULL STREAMING VIDEO|
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Thank you all for coming. Mr. Secretary, thank you for joining us. I am sending to the United States Senate my nomination of Admiral Mike Mullen to be America's next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And I'm sending my nomination of General James Cartwright to be the next Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Mike Mullen and "Hoss" Cartwright are experienced military officers. They're highly qualified for these important positions. I thank them for agreeing to serve their country in these new capacities. We welcome Mike's wife, Deborah, and sons John and Michael. Thank you all for coming. Thanks for wearing the uniform. "Hoss's" wife got stuck on an airplane. (Laughter.) I'm sure she's going to forgive him, and hopefully forgive me. I thank you all for being here and joining on this -- joining these good men on this exciting day for them.
America is at war, and we're at war with brutal enemies who have attacked our nation and who would pursue nuclear weapons; who would use their control over oil as economic blackmail, and who intend to launch new attacks on our country. In such times, one of the most important decisions a President makes is the appointment of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Chairman is our nation's highest-ranking military officer. He is the principal military advisor to the President, to the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council, and the Homeland Security Council. He is responsible for ensuring that our military forces are ready to meet any challenge.
Admiral Mike Mullen is uniquely qualified to take on these important responsibilities. Mike has had an illustrious military career, spanning nearly four decades. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1968. He earned an advanced degree from the Naval Postgraduate School. He has commanded three ships, a cruiser-destroyer group, and an aircraft carrier battle group. He served as commander of NATO's Joint Forces Command in Naples, Italy, with responsibility for Alliance missions in the Balkans, Iraq, and Mediterranean. He served as Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe.
At the Pentagon, he has served as the Navy's Director of Surface Warfare; Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Resources, Requirements, and Assessments; Vice Chief of Naval Operations; and Chief of Naval Operations. Mike is a man of experience, of vision, and high integrity. He is the right man to lead America's Armed Forces, and, Mike, I thank you for agreeing to take on this important assignment.
I'm also nominating an outstanding military officer to serve as Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General "Hoss" Cartwright. He's a graduate of the University of Iowa, he earned an advanced degree from the Naval War College. He completed a fellowship at MIT. He's a Marine aviator who has commanded deployed Marines at all levels. He has broad experience on the joint staff, having served twice in the Directorate of Force Structure, Resources, and Assessment.
And since 2004, he's served as head of the U.S. Strategic Command. In that position, "Hoss" has been in charge of America's nuclear arsenal, missile defenses, space operations, information operations, global command and control, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, and our nation's efforts to combat weapons of mass destruction. These are vital responsibilities and "Hoss" has met them with honor, skill and integrity. He has earned my trust and my confidence. He's going to make an outstanding Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
Upon confirmation by the Senate, Mike Mullen and "Hoss" Cartwright will succeed two of America's finest military officers -- General Pete Pace and Admiral Ed Giambastiani. Pete Pace has been at my side most of my presidency, serving first as my Vice Chairman -- as the Vice Chairman, and then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. We've been through a lot together. Pete was with me after the attacks of September the 11th. He played a key role in planning America's response to that brutal assault on the American homeland.
With the help of his leadership, our men and women in uniform brought down brutal dictatorships in Afghanistan and Iraq. They liberated 50 million people from unspeakable oppression. He's helped lead our military through unprecedented campaigns. And as he has done so, Pete never took his eye off the horizon and the threats that still lie ahead. He played a critical role in transforming our military for challenges of a new century. He made sure that future benefits -- future generations will benefit from the reforms that he has set in motion.
Pete made history as the first Marine to serve as Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I'm going to remember him simply as one of the best military officers and finest men I've been privileged to know. I'm grateful for his friendship, his sense of humor and his character. I also thank him for the life of service and I thank his wife, Lynne, and his children, as well.
I'm also grateful to Admiral Ed Giambastiani. I just call him Admiral "G." I appreciated his outstanding leadership as Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He's an officer of character and vision, and I appreciate his insights and his strong military advice.
Prior to his service as Vice Chairman, Admiral "G" helped lead the transformation of our military as Commander of the U.S. Joint Forces Command. He helped strengthen the NATO alliance as the first Supreme Allied Commander, Transformation. Ed has given 37 years of dedicated service to our country. His work will affect the security of our nation for decades to come. I thank him for his devotion to duty, I thank his wife, Cindy, and their children, as well.
Pete Pace and Ed Giambastiani are hard acts to follow. I can think of none more qualified to follow them than the men whose nominations I am sending to the United States Senate today. I call on the Senate to quickly confirm Mike Mullen and "Hoss" Cartwright. I thank these fine officers and their families for continuing to serve our country.
Thank you all for coming.
ADMIRAL MULLEN: Thank you, Mr. President. I appreciate those kind words and confidence that you and Secretary Gates have expressed in me. Thank you also for allowing my wife, Deborah, and my sons, Jack and Michael, to be with us today. I think we all know that very little can be achieved in life without the love, support and sacrifice of one's family, and I'm certainly no exception.
I'm honored to be nominated to serve as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at this critical time in our history, and I welcome the opportunity to work with the Senate for confirmation. If confirmed, I look forward to working closely with you, sir, Secretary Gates, the Congress, and our outstanding military leaders, including, of course, my fellow nominee, General "Hoss" Cartwright, as we wrestle with the diverse security challenges that lie before us.
Clearly, we remain a nation at war against formidable enemies. The way forward in Iraq and Afghanistan, the path we take now and in the future will shape the character of the longer, larger struggle against terror. It cannot be a military path alone, that much is clear. We must continue to focus on the broad range of America's defense and security commitments around the world, and on the many instruments of national power needed to safeguard those commitments.
We must remain faithful -- excuse me, we must remain mindful that we live in a world made smaller by the speed of change, more dangerous by the actions of extremists and tyrants, and, yet, more hopeful, more promising, by the power of partnerships, cooperation and trust.
The men and women of America's Armed Forces understand these complex challenges, Mr. President, and as you know, are finding new ways to overcome them each and every day. Our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and their families are the most dedicated, talented and courageous people with whom I have ever been privileged to serve. Representing them, serving them, in turn, as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, would be my great honor.
GENERAL CARTWRIGHT: Thank you, Mr. President, and Mr. Secretary. I'm both humbled and honored to move forward and fill this role as the Vice Chair -- Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Family is important to me, also. And I have a son and a daughter that are currently deployed overseas in separate assignments, and I have a daughter that's here -- my oldest daughter -- in the local area, with her husband. But at the center of that is the greatest invention in the world, which is a grandson that's about three years old and it is my duty to spoil. (Laughter.) So I do have one other allegiance here, sir -- (laughter) -- and I have a wife that's sitting in Omaha with an airplane that's broken. (Laughter.)
If confirmed, I will focus all of my effort on the whole of government's efforts to prevail in this global war on terrorism, and to support our people in all of their phases of service; and also to try to move forward and look to the future for the capabilities that we're going to need to prevail as we move into the future as a nation.
Again, thank you, Mr. President, and thank you, Mr. Secretary.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Thanks.
END 8:58 A.M. EDT. For Immediate Release, Office of the Press Secretary, June 28, 2007
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Wednesday, June 27, 2007
|President Bush Discusses Comprehensive Immigration Reform. FULL STREAMING VIDEO, PODCAST OF THIS ARTICLE. Room 350, Eisenhower Executive Office Building, In Focus: Immigration, 9:01 A.M. EDT.|
I do want to thank Secretary Gutierrez and Secretary Chertoff for their hard work. And one of the things I told members of the Senate, that the administration is going to be involved in crafting a comprehensive bill that's good for the country. And I said we're going to be more than just giving speeches, or using the microphone to proclaim the need for a comprehensive bill. I would send two members plus our staff up to -- two members of my Cabinet plus our staff up to work the -- to work with the senators.
|And you guys have done a really good job. Thank you for your time. Thanks for your understanding of the complex, carefully crafted piece of legislation that is moving through the Senate.|
The first thing that we've got to recognize in the country is that the system isn't working. The immigration system needs reform. The status quo is unacceptable. Most Americans understand that. They say, well, we attempted to reform the system in 1986, and the reform didn't work. Our view is, if the status quo is unacceptable, we need to replace it with something that is acceptable, and have been working toward that end with both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate. The reason the Senate, of course, is that we'll be moving our attention to the House when it passes a comprehensive piece of legislation.
I view this as an historic opportunity for Congress to act, for Congress to replace a system that is not working with one that we believe will work a lot better. In other words, this is a moment for people who have been elected to come together, focus on a problem, and show the American people that we can work together to fix the problem. If you dislike the status quo on immigration, then you ought to be supporting a comprehensive approach to making sure the system works.
And it's a practical approach. The Senate has worked very hard to craft a comprehensive bill. In a good piece of legislation like this, and a difficult piece of legislation like this, one side doesn't get everything they want. It's a careful compromise, and many of you have been involved with that compromise.
The problem that this bill recognizes, the bill recognizes that we've got to address the problem in a comprehensive fashion. There are people who say, well, we've got to do more to protect our border -- and they're right, we do have to do more to protect our border. And that's why this bill has a lot of border security measures that will help continue the strategy that we have been implementing over the past year. As a matter of fact, there's a $4.4 billion direct deposit on enforcement measures. But it's important for our fellow citizens to understand that in order to enforce the border, there has to be a way for people to come to our country on a temporary basis to do work Americans aren't doing. Otherwise, they will continue to try to sneak in across the border.
And, therefore, a second aspect of the comprehensive bill is one that addresses the economic needs of our country, and that is a temporary worker program that will match foreign workers with jobs Americans aren't doing -- and notice I say temporary worker program. There are a lot of employers here in this country that worry about having a work force that will be able to meet the demands and needs of a growing economy.
There are people who live in our neighborhood and around the world who are desperate to provide food for their families, and recognize there are available jobs, and they will do anything to come to our country to work, because they want to fight off the poverty and starvation that has affected their loved ones.
It's a powerful incentive to be a mom or a dad to make sure your children don't suffer. That's an incentive. That's an incentive for people here in America; it also happens to be an incentive for people around the world. And, therefore, people will be willing to go extra lengths to avoid border security. They'll be willing to be crammed in the bottom of 18-wheelers. They fall prey to these coyotes who smuggle human beings to achieve profit.
When I say the system hadn't worked -- the system hadn't worked to enforce our borders like we want, but the system has also fostered illegal operations that prey upon the human being, and it's not in this nation's interest that that continue to happen.
And, finally, this bill goes to the heart of our values. We have proven that our nation is capable of assimilating people. And I'm confident that we can continue to be a nation that assimilates. The bill recognizes that English is a part of the assimilation process and wants to help people learn the language in order to be able to take advantage of America.
You know, I've heard all the rhetoric -- you've heard it, too -- about how this is amnesty. Amnesty means that you've got to pay a price for having been here illegally, and this bill does that (Click here for correction). But it also recognizes it's in our nation's interest to bring people out of the shadows; that there's got to be a way forward that recognizes there is a penalty for being here illegally -- on the other hand, that recognizes that each person has got worth and dignity.
I love a country where people come with dreams and aspirations and through hard work can realize those dreams and aspirations. I'm struck every time I hear -- I'm struck about our greatness every time I hear a story about a child taking advantage of a mother's or dad's hard work to realize the blessings of America. I was at the Coast Guard Academy -- I've told this story several times -- and the number one cadet talked about his migrant grandfather. The fellow was a Mexican American -- or is a Mexican American. The father came from -- the grandfather came from Mexico to work hard so that, hopefully, some day somebody in his family would realize the blessings of America. And it worked.
The country is better off. Our soul is constantly renewed. Our spirit is invigorated when people come here and realize the blessings of America. And so the bill that we've worked hard to craft is an important piece of legislation that addresses the needs of a failed system, that says we're going to change for the better.
I want to thank you all for working hard. We've got a couple of days of hard work ahead of us to get the bill through the first stage of the process, and then, of course, when successful in the Senate, we'll be reconvening to figure out how to get the bill out of the House. It's an important piece of legislation; it's an important time to act for the sake of the country.
Thanks for your time. God bless your efforts. God bless our country. Thank you. (Applause.)
END 9:10 A.M. EDT
For Immediate Release, Office of the Press Secretary, June 26, 2007
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Monday, June 25, 2007
|Press Briefing by Dana Perino, FULL STREAMING VIDEO, PODCAST OF THIS ARTICLE White House Conference Center Briefing Room, Dana M. Perino Biography, 1:17 P.M. EDT.|
MS. PERINO: Good afternoon. A schedule update for you from this morning.
Q Welcome, Dana.
MS. PERINO: Your teachers used to do that to you, I'm sure. (Laughter.) And with that, I'll go to questions.
Q Dana, there were a series of 5-4 decisions from the Supreme Court today -- campaign finance, student speech, faith-based matters -- they all went the way the conservatives wanted. Is this the kind of pattern that the White House had in mind when the President nominated Roberts and Alito?
MS. PERINO: Towards the end of any Supreme Court session you tend to have the harder cases decided later, because they just take longer to grapple with, and so you get more split decisions as you get towards the end of the session, which is June 30th. I haven't had a chance to review all the cases. There were some that the government won and some that the government lost. I think your point is about conservatives.
But the President's position is that in any case, you're going to have someone who loses and someone who wins. But we can all be confident that we have fantastic Supreme Court justices. These are the type of people that the President wanted to have on the bench. Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito are proving themselves to be ones who have the intellectual vigor that they can bring to the bench.
These are decisions that are the most difficult ones to grapple with that we deal with in our society. And so since the judiciary is the third branch of government, I think that we can all be very proud that we have a system in which they can make decisions, even if they are close decisions, and we -- as a country we abide by them.
Q Do you not see a pattern there?
MS. PERINO: I do think that it would not be a wise course to try to divine a pattern based on these decisions that came at the end of the session. I don't know of anybody who is actually describing this as a pattern when we lost -- I think it was 9-0 -- on an environmental case about two months ago.
Q Dana, as long as we're talking about branches of government, can you go back to Vice President Cheney again, the argument that he's not part of the executive branch. Does the President believe he's part of the executive branch?
MS. PERINO: I think that that is an interesting constitutional question, and I think that lots of people can debate it. I think when we were talking about the EO from last week, we've gone over that several times. You probably don't want me to go over it again. But the Vice President -- any Vice President has legislative and executive functions.
Every Vice President has legislative and executive functions. The executive functions are given to him by the President. For example, the Vice President's paycheck comes from the Senate. So these are -- that's an interesting constitutional question. When we are talking about this EO, it is separate and apart from -- the President and the Vice President oversee the executive agencies. Supreme Court precedent shows that the Vice President and the President are not seen as an agency when it comes to executive orders.
Q I know that's your argument about an agency, but it's very separate from the argument the Vice President is making. And what is the President -- what is the White House's view of the argument the Vice President is making on whether or not he's part of the executive branch?
Q For one, I think -- I mean, the information is clearly --
MS. PERINO: I'm not opining on it, because the President did not intend for the Vice President to be subject as an agency in that section of the EO.
Q That's an entirely different argument. So you don't Vice President's --
MS. PERINO: No, it's the same --
Q You don't support the Vice President --
MS. PERINO: I'm not opining on it either way.
Q But, Dana, how could the Vice President, earlier in the administration, argue he didn't have to turn over records about the energy task force, for example, because he was a member of the executive branch? He clearly stated that.
MS. PERINO: You could ask the Supreme Court who ruled in his favor.
Q But he did not say, I'm a member of the legislative branch, as well, so I don't have to -- I mean, he clearly stated that there was strong executive power and he didn't have to turn over these records. Now, when it suits his interest, he seems to be saying a different legal argument.
MS. PERINO: Look, I'm not a legal scholar and there's plenty of them that you can find in Washington, D.C. But just that very point that you're making there shows that he has functions in both the executive branch and the legislative branch.
Q But he didn't mention those functions -- dual functions in the early legal arguments at the beginning of the administration. He only used the executive branch arguments.
MS. PERINO: Look, you can try to call his office and try to get more information. I'm not opining on his argument that his office is making. What I can tell you is that the President did not intend for him to be treated separately from himself in this executive order regarding the ISOO office.
Q So, also, though, you mentioned a moment ago that the Vice President gets his paycheck from the Senate.
MS. PERINO: Yes.
Q Does the White House then also believe he should get funding for the Vice President's office from the legislative branch instead of from the executive branch?
MS. PERINO: I don't know. These are not in position --
Q Well, you just noted that. You just noted he gets his paycheck --
MS. PERINO: I'm just -- the reason I noted that is because I'm trying to illustrate the point that he has roles in both the legislature and in the executive branch.
Q But the National Archives documents they want have to do with his executive branch functions; I mean, the secret documents one assumes are from his duties of Vice -- as Vice President.
MS. PERINO: In the executive order, the President and the Vice President are discharged separately from agencies, in which -- it might be awkward if the President, who is the supervisor of this office, was asking that office to come in and investigate themselves. And in this executive order the President is saying that the Vice President is not different than him.
Q When did he decide that? Just in 2003? I mean, he --
MS. PERINO: In terms of the executive order? I need to go back --
Q He did it for a couple of years before that. He just was doing that out of the good of his heart, or --
MS. PERINO: I think so. (Laughter.)
Q Okay. The office also has a 30-year history, which is part of why the National Archives Oversight Office is concerned, because other Presidents had provided -- other White Houses had provided this information. And so it really is a break with a pattern. Why is that necessary?
MS. PERINO: I don't know why the EO was amended in 2003, and I can try to go back and find out. What I do know is that when the President wrote this EO, it's clear in the reading of it that he does not intend for the Vice President to be seen as separate from himself. And they are not asking someone who is subordinate to them to come in and investigate them. And I think that the ISOO office has had only a complaint about the Vice President's office, not about other places within the executive branch. And so that can be resolved either by the Justice Department or, as I am telling you, as the President's spokesman, he did not intend for the Vice President to be seen as separate from himself.
Q Is the President satisfied that Alberto Gonzales has not responded yet, after five, six months of a request by this office to have this issue mediated?
MS. PERINO: I have not asked the President if he's concerned about that, and I would ask you to call over at the Justice Department to find out about their timing.
Q Should Alberto Gonzales recuse himself because he was White House Counsel?
MS. PERINO: I don't think that's necessary.
Q I mean, if the argument was so clear that you're making about he wasn't part of the agency, then why did he make that argument, coming back? That's not the argument he made.
MS. PERINO: I don't know why he made the arguments that he did, but --
Q Apparently it wasn't so clear to them.
MS. PERINO: It might not have been clear to them, and I don't know all the discussions that they had back and forth between the Vice President's office and ISOO. What I'm telling you is that in the reading of the EO, and in asking about the interpretation of it, that's the answer I've got.
Q Dana, is the White House comfortable with the way the Vice President is being portrayed in this Washington Post four-part series? I mean, two installments have come out now suggesting almost that he's out of control, he's operating around the President, that people like John Ashcroft, when he was Attorney General, actually had to deal with the Vice President, not the President, had to argue, I'm the chief law enforcement officer and should be included in discussions, legal arguments about how detainees are being held -- is the White House comfortable with this portrayal?
MS. PERINO: You've heard me say before that we don't do book reviews from the White House, and I think that that would -- that the length of this article --
Q This isn't a book -- it's not a book.
MS. PERINO: Look, I think any of -- a lot of what is being talked about there is classified -- dealing with classified issues, and following the attacks on our country on 9/11, I'm not going to opine on those. I'm not going to say one way or the other about the articles. What I will say is that one -- number one, this country has not been attacked again; and number two, all that we have undertaken has been lawful.
Q That is not his question.
Q Okay, but one specific example. There was a Bybee memo that was classified at one point, but has since been made public, and it's been on Capitol Hill, it's been out there, it's been in newspapers -- the Bybee memo from 2002 dealing with torture. And it basically -- this story today portrays the Vice President's team as basically helping to draft that memo about how detainees are going to be held and tried, et cetera, where the limits are on torture, and that basically it took two years before the Secretary of State Colin Powell and the National Secretary Advisor Condoleezza Rice even knew that this memo had been written -- this vast policy on the war on terror. The Secretary of State and the National Security Advisor did not know for two years. Is the President comfortable with the Vice President essentially cutting out two of his top national security officials on this critical policy?
MS. PERINO: Look, I'm not privy to internal deliberations of that level. I don't know, and I'm not going to comment on any type of internal deliberations.
Q Do you really think that's the way a White House should operate?
MS. PERINO: Look, I've been around not as long as a lot of people, but long enough to see how the process works here, and I can assure you that the debate is vigorous, and it is held -- people have strongly-held views, and they voice them, and they voice them loudly. I am very comfortable with the process that we have, in terms of how those debates get settled.
Q But how you can say it's a vigorous debate if the Secretary of State and the National Security Advisor were not involved in debate for two years, two years?
MS. PERINO: Ed, I'm not commenting on that.
MS. PERINO: I'm not commenting on that either way.
Q But how can you make the claim -- if you're not commenting on it, how can you --
MS. PERINO: I'm commenting on my personal experience at the White House.
Q But how can you make that claim, though, that there's a vigorous debate? The top two national security officials were not involved in that debate. How could it be vigorous?
MS. PERINO: I don't know that to be true, Ed, so I'm not commenting --
Q So is it false?
MS. PERINO: I don't know that to be true, so I'm not commenting on it.
Q Can you send someone out here who can? You're stonewalling. Is the President a member of the executive branch? Is he answerable to any law, to any executive order? I mean, what is this? What's going on here?
MS. PERINO: Helen, the President, of course, is head of the executive branch.
Q Any accountability to the American people?
MS. PERINO: Absolutely.
Q Does the Vice President see top secrets in this administration as a member of the executive branch? Does he attend NSC meetings?
MS. PERINO: In his executive duties, as discharged by the President, he does see classified materials, yes.
Q And he is allowed to?
MS. PERINO: Victoria, go ahead.
Q We should get someone out here who can answer our questions.
Q Does the United States practice cruelty?
MS. PERINO: No. We have gone over this several times. I'd refer you to all the previous comments that we've had in the past. Hadley -- Steve Hadley came and briefed you all in September of 2006, the President has answered public questions about this, so has the Secretary of State on multiple occasions in front of Congress, so has the Attorney General. And we have maintained that we have protected this country in a way that does not involve torture.
Q But there's a difference between cruelty and torture, is my understanding. The cruelty, by definition, is imposition of severe physical and mental pain or suffering, which is different from torture, which is --
MS. PERINO: I'm not commenting on any type of techniques or anything else that is used in order to help get us information in order to prevent terrorist attacks on this country. I'm just not going to do it.
Q But you would say that we do not practice cruel --
MS. PERINO: I can tell you flatly, as has been previously stated by the President himself and by members of his Cabinet, that this administration has not used torture.
Q What? You've got photographs.
MS. PERINO: Goyal.
Q Two questions. One, -- schools (inaudible) President talking about No Child Left Behind. My question is that as far as No Child Left Behind, according to a report, U.S. education system has gone down and violence has increased in many schools here, and as far as children are concerned.
MS. PERINO: What's your question?
Q Immigrant children are doing better in schools, but is the President going to talk about as far as increasing violence in schools today, and education system has gone down?
MS. PERINO: The President today is going to talk about the move to reauthorize No Child Left Behind so that we can make sure that every child is reading at grade level by 2014 and that we have accountability for students, parents and taxpayers.
Q And second, if I may --
MS. PERINO: Bret, going to go to Bret.
Q Can I just rewind to the executive order one more time? I'm trying to see, is the White House saying that you disagree with the argument the Vice President's office is making?
MS. PERINO: No, I didn't say that.
Q I know, but what are you saying? I don't get it, really. Is the White House at odds with what the Vice President is saying the reason he's not --
MS. PERINO: I'm not opining on that, and I'm not going to comment on it. But what I'm saying is that I think that it's irrelevant in this regard. The Vice President and the President are treated as one in the same in this EO. And the argument that is being made by ISOO, that disputes whether or not the Vice President should be seen as an agency, has a disagreement with that. That's their right. They can have a disagreement with that. But the President never intended for the Vice President to be treated as an agency in this executive order.
Q But that's -- rationale. I'm talking about living up to the executive order, as the President signed it. Is the Vice President --
MS. PERINO: Yes, absolutely. The Vice President is in compliance with the executive order, you bet.
Q Dana, is the Office of the President and the Office of the Vice President -- not are they being treated the same way -- are they acting in the same way, in terms of --
MS. PERINO: When the Vice President is doing duties that the President has asked him to do, under his executive function, then, yes, he is performing similar duties to what the President is doing.
Q Is the office of the archive able to get a degree of compliance with the EO from the Office of the President that it's not able to get from the Office of the Vice President?
MS. PERINO: The Vice President is in compliance with the EO, as is the President. So that shouldn't be a question.
Q So any kind of inspections they want to make, any kind of procedures that they want to --
MS. PERINO: This does not apply to the President or the Vice President, who have the responsibility to discharge and oversee.
Q Does the NSC? Does the National Security Council?
MS. PERINO: The NSC does, they do comply.
Q The case of Alan Johnston, the BBC prisoner in Gaza, is getting much more serious. Does this administration have any advice, either for the people who hold him, or British people in favor of military action against, or do you favor compliance --
MS. PERINO: We stand behind our British allies in calling for his unjust holding to end immediately, and for him to be returned safely to his family.
Q Is there any desire in the President's strategy to comply with some of their demands --
MS. PERINO: I'm not going to comment on that, and I have to refer you to the British authorities for that. They're leading that.
Q Dana, on the British --
MS. PERINO: I'm sorry, I was going to go to Roger, and then I'll come back.
Q I think she's got the same question.
MS. PERINO: How convenient.
Q Any new information on Tony Blair becoming an international envoy? And has the President talked to him in the past two days?
MS. PERINO: No, I don't believe the President has talked to him in the past few days. And if there's more to report on that, we'll let you know as soon as possible.
Q Well, there are reports out that he is going to be named tomorrow. So is that true?
MS. PERINO: Not that I'm aware of.
Q Back to the Oversight Office. They've asked for an opinion from the Justice Department -- you're declaring from the podium that the Vice President is in compliance. So this sounds like there's nothing for the Justice Department to render an opinion on.
MS. PERINO: If the Justice Department wants to review it -- and it is under review, as you pointed out -- they've not responded yet, but what I'm saying is that -- I hate to be repetitive, but -- (laughter) -- the President meant for the Vice President to be one and the same with him in this executive order.
Q It sounds like if the Oversight Office is waiting for an opinion, they shouldn't hold their breath. You've already rendered it.
MS. PERINO: I've given them what the President's interpretation is.
Q You mean complying with the order, you don't mean "complying," that he's turning over documents. You just mean --
MS. PERINO: They're complying with the executive order, correct.
Q -- complying with the executive -- as you read it, as the President reads it.
MS. PERINO: As the President intended it -- not just as I read it.
Q Has the President turned over documents and allowed inspections that the Vice President's office has not done?
MS. PERINO: In terms of the White House office?
MS. PERINO: I don't believe we did. No.
Q So the White House also has not allowed those same inspections that the Vice President's office --
MS. PERINO: The President has discharged, as their supervisor, the ISOO to do these investigations, on-site inspections at agencies of which the President and the Vice President are not a part.
Q Okay, so the President has not had those inspections either -- that's what you're saying?
MS. PERINO: No.
Q Okay. Has he been asked to have those inspections by the National Archives?
MS. PERINO: Not that I -- not that I'm aware. But again, it's the President that's discharging the EO, he's the sole enforcer.
Q Okay. And just lastly, it's a little surreal -- I mean, how is it possible --
MS. PERINO: You're telling me.
Q Well -- that you can't give an opinion about whether the Vice President is part of the executive branch or not?
MS. PERINO: All I know is that --
Q It's a little bit like somebody saying, "I don't know if this is my wife or not." (Laughter.)
MS. PERINO: I think it's a little bit more complicated than that.
Q No, but honestly, I mean, there's no --
MS. PERINO: No, honestly, I think it's more complicated than that. I do.
Q But, Dana, one difference is, from this podium came the explanation that the President never intended for this to apply to the Vice President. When there was communication from the counsel of the Vice President's office to ISOO, the rationale was different. It was that there was a split in the duties, the role of the Vice President, and that's where we're getting this -- he's part of the legislative and the executive. So it seems that it was not -- everybody was not on the same page when they were first responding to the National Archives.
MS. PERINO: I don't know that to necessarily be true, but I can see if I can get from the Vice President's office more of an explanation -- because they could have been thinking of one in the same argument, and I'm just -- I don't have the legal mind that can draw those two together.
Q What if one of the staff members of the Vice President was asked to turn over material and the staff member was afraid that they would get in a Scooter Libby type situation if they don't turn it over -- do they have the same protections? Now, we're talking about staff members, not the President and Vice President.
MS. PERINO: I think you're talking about apples and oranges, because I think that the Vice President and the White House -- the President and the Vice President, I think that extends to their offices and the people who actually work for them, as well.
Q That's very important, because --
MS. PERINO: I think I just answered it, but I can look into it again.
Q Dana, for 200-plus years, everybody from civics class on up has had a certain understanding of the way our government works. And this EO clarifies more than 200 years of constitutional scholarship about the way our system works?
MS. PERINO: Maybe it's me, but I think that everyone is making this a little bit more complicated than it needs to be. The President writes an executive order; he says --
Q I'm talking about the part where the Vice President says that there's a question about whether or not he's part of the executive branch.
MS. PERINO: And the point I was trying to make to you before is that I --
Q This really falls into "sky is blue" stuff.
MS. PERINO: For the past two centuries the Senate has provided payment to the Vice President for his duties as a member of the government. I understand that he has roles in both branches. I am -- I don't think that it's as clear-cut as you're trying to make it.
Q That the Vice President of the United States is --
MS. PERINO: I think there is no denying that he has functions in both the legislative and the executive branches. That is a fact.
Q But it seems like the Vice President is saying he's not responsible for the rules of either of those --
MS. PERINO: No, I think that he was saying -- especially when it comes to the executive branch -- is that the duties that he is given are given to him solely by the President of the United States. And some Vice Presidents don't do as much as he does in the realm of national security or in policy development as this Vice President does. But this Vice President was given executive duties to handle --
Q But how is being a part of another branch -- I guess it's debatable -- but how is that an out?
MS. PERINO: It's not an -- that's irrelevant because the President never intended for the Vice President to be subject to the executive order.
Q No, he introduced the topic. The Office of the Vice President introduces that into the argument, into the debate; "well, we're not part of the executive branch."
MS. PERINO: I think that that is also a fact -- and as I said to Kelly, I'll see if I can get more from the Vice President's office to see if they -- how they connected the two, or if they did.
Q He can argue he's part of both, but he can't possibly argue that he's part of neither. And it seems like he's saying he's part of neither.
MS. PERINO: Okay, you have me thoroughly confused, as well.
Q He doesn't know his wife -- (Laughter.)
Q On North Korea, the BDA issue was briefly resolved back in February. Can you comment on why it took so long? And did the transfer actually finish taking place this morning?
MS. PERINO: The North Koreans have said that the transfer has taken place. For a final confirmation of that, I'd have to refer you to the Treasury Department. And I think it took a long time because it's a complex financial maneuver of which I also don't understand. But the Treasury Department can provide you more information.
Q Can you also comment on -- I mean, do you think that this financial measure was an effective tool for diplomacy?
MS. PERINO: I think that what we're doing is we're moving now to the point where North Korea is saying that it is going to dismantle and halt enrichment at Yongbyon facility. And I just heard that Chris Hill is giving a briefing at 2:00 p.m. today, so he'll have a lot more first-hand information than I do.
MS. PERINO: Anybody else? Okay, Les.
Q Dana, thank you. Two questions. First, does the President believe that it will be perceived by most American citizens that the United States really has equal justice under law if Scooter Libby is allowed to be sent to prison while Sandy Berger and Marion Barry remain free?
MS. PERINO: I'm going to give you the standard "no comment" line on that, Les. I know how disappointed you are.
Q Yes. Yesterday New York Times published a column which contended that Vice President Cheney is -- and this is a quote -- "bordering on lunacy" and referring to him as "Crazy
Dick." And my question: Neither the President nor the Vice President would tolerate any of their staffs referring to "Pinch Sulzberger, the left-wing lunatic," would they?
MS. PERINO: We don't refer to him at all. (Laughter.)
Q You don't refer to him at all, okay.
MS. PERINO: Is that it?
Q Then I'm right?
Q Could I just follow up?
Q The President would not --
MS. PERINO: Let me go back to Jim.
Q Just one last big-picture question about -- sort of the cumulative effect of all this. You have this big series in the Post out about the Vice President. You've had this steady series of ways in which it is easy to see that he has created a certain number of questions for you and others to answer in the administration. Does the President consider him a liability, or does he consider him more of a liability now than maybe he did at any point in the past?
MS. PERINO: I don't think he thinks of it that way. I think that the President thinks of the Vice President as a very close and trusted advisor; somebody who has nothing but the country's best interest at heart. And I think that there's been a lot of accusations about this Vice President going back for many years. And as much as we would like to always get fabulous, glowing press, that's not always the case. And so we take the good with the bad, in terms of press coverage. But I think that every day the President relies on the Vice President's good advice.
Q Given the way that a number of initiatives and ideas and policies that the Vice President has been driving on have turned out, do you think the President wants to rethink, or should rethink his reliance on the Vice President?
MS. PERINO: Let me give you three examples. First of all, as I mentioned before, this President has -- was over -- was President during the time of 9/11 when 3,000 of our citizens were killed by terrorists. We have not had another terrorist attack on our soil. And that, as the Vice President has said, is not an accident.
Secondly, the other policies that this Vice President has worked on include things such as tax cuts, of which the entire country benefited and we continued to feel the benefits from with this good economy. So I think that the Vice President's impact is broader and deeper on lots of good policies that have come out of this White House.
Q Are you saying the end justifies the means, following up on the first part of your answer?
MS. PERINO: I don't -- what do you mean --
Q You're saying that we haven't had another attack --
MS. PERINO: -- that I say --
Q -- therefore everything the Vice President --
MS. PERINO: Now, Jim, I think that's a little bit unfair, since about three or five minutes ago I just finished saying and reiterating that this administration has not tortured. But I will say that the policies we put in place -- for example, the terrorist surveillance program, of which we are listening in on phone calls coming into or out of this country, where one person on that phone call is a suspected terrorist -- has saved lives. And that came from General Hayden, now the Director of the CIA. And that's what is not an accident.
Q But does the administration support waterboarding, for example, which is written about again today? It's been considered a war crime since 1901. Do you -- does it --
MS. PERINO: Ed, I appreciate you trying. I'm just -- I am not going to comment.
Q But you said you don't believe in torture, but that's one tactic that --
MS. PERINO: I'm not -- I appreciate it. I am not commenting on it.
Q Are you saying we have not tortured?
MS. PERINO: That's what I'm saying.
Q How can you say that? In every report --
Q Dana, has the Vice President's influence in this administration waned in recent months? Do you think he's as influential as he has -- he was at the beginning?
MS. PERINO: I think that the storyline that a lot of people have tried to explore, I have not witnessed it myself. He was there today at the meeting with the Estonians and he was there last week when we met with the President of Vietnam, and I see him regularly. He was actually there at the SVTS this morning with Prime Minister Maliki. He's influential, his staff is good to work with, and we enjoy having him around.
Q Can I just ask you about immigration?
MS. PERINO: Sure.
Q Since this is a critical week, what's your sense of the state of play on that? And are you worried at all that there's a split in the Republican Party that could spill over to other issues, like Iraq war funding in September, education, No Child Left Behind --
MS. PERINO: I think there's no doubt that there's been a heated debate about the immigration bill. I don't think that is limited to our party, the Republican Party; I think those rifts have been felt in the Democratic Party, as well, but might not have been as well publicized as the ones in Republican Party. And I think that going forward, one, we're going to have a vigorous debate in the Senate this week. We're glad that the bill is going to be called back up. There's going to be 11 amendments a side, so 22 total. They've got a lot of work to do. And we'll see if we can improve that bill to make sure that we have border security first, in addition to the other pieces of the bill that the President wants.
But I also think, Ed, that there are a lot of things that bring the Republican Party together, including the issues of fiscal discipline and spending; life issues -- for example, the President vetoing the stem cell bill last week. And so we have a big tent party and there are lots of issues that bring us together, and when there are ones where we have disagreements, we can do that as friends.
Q Dana, can I follow on that? It seems like the President has adopted a strategy on the immigration front of challenging lawmakers to show courage. He said that in his radio address and he said that a few weeks ago in a major speech. How is that a successful strategy for winning votes on this matter?
MS. PERINO: I think what the President means by that is that these are tough issues; these are ones that go to the core of different districts. You have, in some places where you need more workers, there is great demand for a temporary worker program. You have other communities that are on the border that are feeling the very tough impacts of having illegal immigrants who are there stressing their social services.
And I think what the President is saying is that the courage -- have the courage of your convictions, have the courage to pick up the phone and talk to your constituents, have the courage to come and debate the President, and debate him loudly if you need to. But at the end of the day, the President believes that this is a bill that this country needs in order for us to be both prosperous and safer.
Q But it seems pretty clear that the senators know that this is a tough, difficult issue. It seems like, in a way, he's calling them out, as much as he is trying to engage them.
MS. PERINO: I would disagree, because I think that because -- the very fact that the bill is actually coming back on the floor and they're going to have 22 more amendments to debate shows that the members of the Senate, from both sides of the aisle, have courage in order to try to take this issue on.
Is anyone going to say thank you? (Laughter.)
Q Thank you.
END 1:46 P.M. EDT
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President Bush Welcomes President Ilves of Estonia to the White House FULL STREAMING VIDEO, Oval Office 11:49 A.M. EDT.
|PRESIDENT BUSH: We'll make statements only today.|
Mr. President, welcome. It is a high honor to welcome President Ilves to the Oval Office. He is the President of a country which has emerged from some really dark days.
I thank you very much for your voice, heard very clearly, for those who suffer under tyrannical societies, and that is, is that freedom is a precious gift to all and that democracy and societies based upon liberty are the best way to not only enable people to realize their talents, but to lay the foundation for peace. And along these lines, Estonia has been a very strong friend to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. These young democracies are fighting off extremists.
I briefed the President today about my conversation with the Prime Minister of Iraq, as well as our conversations with David Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker. Today, once again, we saw the brutality that extremists can inflict upon societies when a suicider killed innocent people who were working toward reconciliation. All the more reason, Mr. President, for us to remain firm and strong as we stand for this young democracy -- these young democracies.
The people of Estonia paid a high price. You lost -- I know you lost two soldiers in Afghanistan recently, and our thoughts and prayers go to the families and the people of Estonia. We thank you for your sacrifice and just want you to know that we're committed to working hard to make sure that we succeed -- and we succeed for the sake of peace for generations to come.
We talked about a lot of other interesting subjects, as well. Of course, the President pushed me very hard on visas. I readily concede there's an inconsistency in our policy where the people of Estonia are treated differently from other people inside Europe -- even though the people of Estonia are making great sacrifices for the cause of democracy and liberty alongside with U.S. forces. And to this end, Mr. President, I will continue to pursue with Congress a modernization of the visa program. I thank you for bringing it up and, frankly, I don't blame you for bringing it up.
We also talked about an interesting subject, and one that I can learn a lot about, and that is the cyber attack that makes us all vulnerable. Estonia recently went through a wave of cyber attacks. And this President, one, understands the issue well; two, has got some ideas, including a NATO center of excellence in Estonia to deal with this issue. And I really want to thank you for your leadership, and thank you for your clear understanding of the dangers that that imposes not only on your country, but mine and others, as well.
But I'm dealing with a man who is a clear thinker, he speaks with moral authority and moral clarity, and he's a voice for reason and hope around the world. And we're proud to welcome you here to the Oval Office.
PRESIDENT ILVES: Thank you very much, President Bush. It is great to be back here, to be in the United States, a strong ally of my country, a country that has been with Estonians throughout the Cold War, supporting Estonia's desires for democracy and for independence, and even in the darkest of times, and since the reestablishment of our independence, has been with us all along as a very strong partner, strong supporter of our membership in NATO; a country that, whenever things have been tough for us, has stood with us. And it's one reason why Estonia is a strong ally of the United States.
I'm grateful for President Bush's position, which I did push him hard on, on the visa issue. It is something of concern in Estonia, but I think all the other new members of NATO, the ones who are -- who have been very good allies in Iraq and in Afghanistan, and our people don't always understand why it is that those countries that have been the strongest supporters of the United States find it often the most difficult to come for vacation. But that -- I think that is an issue which is more in the hands of Congress, and we hope that Congress will resolve this.
We did, in fact, suffer a series of attacks on our computer infrastructure. It is a serious issue if your most important computer systems go down in a country like mine, where 97 percent of bank transactions are done on the Internet. When you are a highly interneted country like we are, then these kinds of attacks can do very serious damage. And I do think it's the wave of the future -- not that it's a good wave, but it is something that we have to deal with more and more.
We know that the United States and Israel and Denmark have come under cyber attack before, and I think that it's an issue that will require much more attention in the future. And I'm very happy that two countries that are very vast in terms of information technology can work together on these issues.
So I think that -- well, for me, it's been -- it's a very good visit. And I know that President Bush has a busy schedule, but I do hope that when his term in office is up, that you will come to my ranch -- which is a lot smaller than yours. (Laughter.)
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you all for coming.
END 11:55 A.M. EDT. For Immediate Release, Office of the Press Secretary, June 25, 2007
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