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White House Press Conference Scheduled Update: "19 Kids"
Topics: Economy, Pakistan, Tillman, Iraq, housing market. Plus: GWB puts up his dukes. Plus: No gas tax increase.
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Update: Here’s the full official transcript.

Update: Video of GWB’s “19 kids” remark. I had heard it when I was liveblogging, but I thought I heard it wrong. Ugh.

Update: Photo op of the presser…



Fox News reports:

President Bush will hold a press conference at in the White House’s Brady Press Briefing Room on Thursday before leaving for Kennebunkport, Maine.

Watch FOX News or live for the president’s press conference at 10:30 a.m. ET.

The content of his opening remarks is not yet known…

“I was wrong to push shamnesty?”

No, no. Looks like the remarks will be related to the economy, I think.


10:31am Eastern. He’s late.

Here we go…

Bush is talking tax cuts. Inflation is low, unemployment is low. “The American economy is the envy of the world and we need to keep it that way.” We have “the most ambitious, educated, and innovative people in the world.” Ticks off components of something called the “American Competitiveness Initiative.”

All well and good, but how about that China dollar sell-off and that home credit crisis?

Remarks are over.

First question: The bridge collapse and what to do. Congressional priorities/highway funding.

GWB: “We’re working hard to find out why the bridge did what it did.” Bush says priority-setting should change. “Before we raise taxes…I would strongly urge the Congress examine how they set priorities.”

Next question: Musharraf/Pakistan. State of emergency rumors.

GWB: “I’ve seen the reports of what they call an emergency declaration. Seen no evidence he’s made that decision. We share a common enemy–extremists and radicals that would like to do harm to our respective societies…expect cooperation in sharing intelligence…swift action taken on high-value targets…he shares the same concern about radicals that I do…domestic scene there – free and fair election…hopefully they will…

Next question: Tillman…murder instead of friendly fire…will you make pledge after seven investigations finally to get to the truth…

GWB: I can understand that Pat Tillman’s family has emotions…best way to honor Pat Tillman’s commitment is to find out the truth…

Q: When did you personally find out it was friendly fire and not enemy fire?

GWB: We’ll get to the bottom of it…

Q: Barack Obama/Dr. Strangelove comparison…Pakistan/al Qaeda/actionable intelligence…

GWB: Says he won’t be dragged into talking about presidential politics…Am I confident that [al Qaeda] will be brought to justice? Yes.

Follow-up: Fair assumption that CIA agents are in Pakistan?

GWB: What’s fair is that I’m not going to talk about ongoing intelligence matters.

Q: Military progress in Iraq but not political progress…

GWB: Gen. Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker will be coming back to report on both military/political successes/failures…My own perspective so far is that they’ve made some progress but not enough…

Q: Oh, god. David Gregory wants a government bailout as a solution to the mortgage crisis. Will it affect the economy?

GWB: I’m wise enough to remind you that I’m not an economist. Ask those who make a living making predictions to make predictions. “The fundamentals are strong.” Another factor: amount of liquidity in the system. I’m told there is enough liquidity. The word ‘bailout’ – I’m not sure what you mean. If you mean direct grants, no. There needs to be more transparency in financial documents. A lot of people sign up for something who don’t know what they’re signing up for…financial literacy…it’s the proper role of government to educate people…

Q: Gregory follow-up…What’s going in the housing market? Correction or crisis?

GWB: Addressed this yesterday. Looks like we’re heading for a soft landing…thank you.

Q: Iranian weapons.

GWB: Send message that there will be consequences for people transporting EFPs that kill Americans in Iraq. Maliki in Tehran today. Yes, we’ve sent the message and in that meeting.

Q: Should Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac play a role in housing crisis?

GWB: Mentions a reform package, focus on core mission.

Q: Red Cross investigation of torture at interrogation facilities…Gitmo…close it…Will Gitmo be opened or closed when you leave office?

GWB: Part of the delay is the reluctance of home countries to take back detainees…mentions Congressional vote rejecting detainees being housed here…we’re working with other nations to send folks…a lot of people don’t want killers in their midst and a lot of these people are killers…issue of getting people tried…trials…I don’t want to make predictions about whether Guantanamo will be available or not…on Red Cross report: I haven’t seen it, we don’t torture…

Q: Do you and your Iraqi counterpart see eye to eye on Iran?

GWB: Haven’t seen pictures of Maliki meeting in Tehran…generally, you don’t duke it out…try to be cordial at these meetings…GWB puts up his dukes (audience laughter)…I’m not surprised that there’s a picture showing people smiling…if the signal is that Iran is constructive, I’ll have to have a heart to heart (with Maliki)…should the American people be concerned about Iran? Yes, of course, they are a destabilizing influence…calling for annihilation of Israel…Iran can do better…you don’t have to be isolated…the US will continue to work with our friends and allies to put the Iranian people in their rightful place in the world…

UPDATE: More on the Maliki/Mahmoud date here.

11:05am Eastern. Here’s a wire dispatch on the conference. Headlining GWB’s rejection of an increase in the gas tax.

Q: Incoming Libby Derangement Syndrome question: There have been a lot of questions about your commitment to accountability: Iraq, Lewis Libby, Alberto Gonzales…Lewis LibbyLewisLibbyLewisLibby…

A: Lewis Libby has been held accountable. Gonzales hearings a “political exercise.” I would hope Congress would deliver legislation that matters instead of investigative hearings. They’re struggling to get appropriations bills to my desk…

Q: Iraq…

GWB: Does it matter? Can we succeed? Short discourse on the nature of our enemies, ideological battle…no mention of the South Korean hostage crisis, though…

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: George W. Bush