Press Briefing by Joe Lockhart (09/13/2000)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                       September 13, 2000

                             PRESS BRIEFING BY
                               JOE LOCKHART

                  The James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

12:16 P.M. EDT

          MR. LOCKHART:  Let me start with a statement from the President
and some announcements -- a statement of the President's concerning the
visit by the leaders of the Northern Ireland Executive.  It's kind of long,
so just stay with me.

          "I was encouraged by today's historic first visit to the White
House by the leaders of Northern Ireland's new government, established
under the Good Friday Accord.  First Minister David Trimble and Deputy
First Minister Seamus Malon conveyed to me their absolute commitment to
make the new political institutions work for the benefit of all of the
people of Northern Ireland.

          Although the institutions have only been fully operating for a
matter of weeks, elected representatives from across the party spectrum are
working together on issues from economic development, to the environment,
to health and education that hold the key to a better life for their
constituents who now hold them accountable under devolution of power.

          While difficult issues relating to the implementation of the Good
Friday Accord remain, I am convinced, following today's meeting, that all
the parties can work together to overcome their differences, and that they
fully recognize the importance of doing so to ensure that these historic
achievements are not lost.

          The ongoing violence reminds us of the need for all parties to
carry out their obligations under the Accord, and for those with political
aims to pursue them through exclusively peaceful means.

          I am grateful for the invitation extended to me to visit Northern
Ireland.  I reaffirm my desire to continue to support the peace process in
any way we can.  Thanks to courageous and determined leadership, the people
of Northern Ireland face a brighter future now than at any time in the last
three decades.

          As those in zone of conflict around the world search for hope,
they need to look no further than Northern Ireland, whose leaders have
proved that risks for peace are worth taking."

          Q    Is he accepting?

          MR. LOCKHART:  He did not indicate to the leaders that he could
accept the invitation at this time, but he would consider it for later in
the year.

          On the announcements.  The President will hold a joint press
conference on Friday at 3:30 p.m. with the Prime Minister of India, who is,
as you all know, in for an official visit and will be here for the weekend.
Deadline for sign-up is 5:00 p.m. today.

          Upcoming travel:  September 17th:  President Clinton will travel
to Philadelphia, on Sunday, September 17th.  He will participate in the
groundbreaking ceremony for the National Constitution Center.  The
Constitution Center will be the first ever museum honoring and explaining
the Constitution.  He will return to D.C. that day.

          September 23rd through 25th, the President will travel to
California.  On Saturday, September 23rd, President Clinton will deliver
remarks at a DNC lunch and reception for Mike Honda for Congress in San
Jose, California.  He will also make remarks at a DCCC dinner in Los
Angeles later that evening, remaining overnight in Los Angeles.

          On Sunday, the President will speak at a reception for
Congresswoman Lois Capps in Pacific Palisades, then at a reception for the
California League of Conservation Voters in Bel Air, and a DNC dinner in
Anaheim Hills.  The President will remain overnight again in Los Angeles.

          On Monday, September 25th, the President will deliver remarks at
a DNC lunch in Hidden Hills, California; will return to Washington that

          September 27th, Texas.  The President will travel to Texas on
September 27th.  He will speak at a luncheon for the DNC Gay and Lesbian
Leadership Council in Dallas.  He will also speak at a reception for
Congressman Max Sandlin at a DNC dinner in Houston, returning to
Washington, DC, in what will apparently be very late in the evening.

          Q    How does he feel about losing Air Force One?

          MR. LOCKHART:  No one told me -- we lost Air Force One?

          Q    Have bags, will travel.

          MR. LOCKHART:  Well, I think it is significant that as part of
the reorientation program that we have going here on the President's
birthday, his staff gave him a blow-up of a boarding pass and explained to
him the concept behind such a boarding pass.  Questions?

          Q    Do you have anything on Sandy Berger's meeting with the
Israeli Foreign Minister?

          MR. LOCKHART:  No.  I know that there have been some discussions
going on.  Several members of the team remained in New York over the
weekend.  You know, the President met with Prime Minister Barak on
Saturday.  I think Dennis Ross and the Secretary remained up there, so
there were some ongoing discussions, but I don't have anything on Mr.
Berger's itinerary.  We'll check.  We'll get back to you.

          Q    Does that mean here or in New York?

          MR. LOCKHART:  With the Foreign Minister?

          Q    Yes.

          MR. LOCKHART:  I know that Sandy had a series of meetings while
he was in New York, but he came back on Saturday.  So I don't know that
there's been anything subsequent or there's anything schedule here.

          Q    There is a report suggesting that Mrs. Clinton had
contributors stay overnight at the White House and at Camp David.  Her
campaign is referring all questions about this to the White House.  What do
you know about it?

          MR. LOCKHART:  I don't comment on reports that come from that
source.  If you have some independent reporting and questions, go ahead and
ask them.  But don't bring that gentleman's reporting into this room.

          Q    Can you say that there were no such overnights?

          MR. LOCKHART:  What?  Define the question.

          Q    Have any contributors to Mrs. Clinton's campaign stayed
overnight at the White House or Camp David?

          MR. LOCKHART:  Sure.  I don't know about Camp David, but the
President and the First Lady, over the last seven and a half years, have
always welcomed their friends and supporters and political officials from
around the country, prominent members of the arts community to stay at the
White House.

          Within that group, there certainly have been people who, as their
friends, have supported them financially.

          Q    So you're saying this is not necessarily a big deal?

          MR. LOCKHART:  I'm answering your question.

          Q    Then you're saying it's true?

          MR. LOCKHART:  Saying what is true?

          Q    That some contributors may have been wooed into staying

          MR. LOCKHART:  Repeat the question again?  Some of the
contributors may have been what?

          Q    Stayed overnight.

          MR. LOCKHART:  If the straightforward question is, have there
been people who have stayed as the guests who have also been friends and
supporters and contributors, sure; but you all knew that.

          Q    I am saying was it a payoff?

          MR. LOCKHART:  No.  No.

          Q    Joe, has this been done in other administrations too?

          MR. LOCKHART:  Yes.  Go ask them.
friends and supporters and contributors, sure.  But you all knew that.  But
let me just say for the record that -- and I'll wait until Bill stops
talking so you can hear this -- that it is truly a sorry day when you all
walk in here and ask me questions based on a rumormonger's Internet web

          Q    Sometimes he's right.

          MR. LOCKHART:  Yes, well, you know what?  Sometimes is a standard
that you should strive to reach better than sometimes.

          Q    Joe, on Northern Ireland, did the President talk about his
feelings on the Patton Commission's final -- how it's going to finally come
down on the Northern Ireland policing bill?

          MR. LOCKHART:  Well, I think there was a little bit of discussion
of that.  I think the President indicated that this was something that they
needed to work out in a way that provided an effective force, but that was
also a force that was broadly supportive.  I don't think he had -- he
didn't offer answers to the questions, only that full implementation of the
Good Friday Accords has to be the priority of all the parties involved.

          Q    Joe, one of the White House chefs filed suit this morning,
naming also the President, for sexual harassment against the chef, but also
naming the President, saying there weren't guidelines in place.  Do you
have a comment to that?

          MR. LOCKHART:  Well, on the specifics of this case, since it's
under now -- it's a matter of litigation, I'm not going to comment on this
particular case.  I can tell you, as I said this morning, that everyone
here at the White House is committed to ensuring equal employment
opportunity for all employees, and we take any suggestion or allegation of
employment discrimination seriously.

          As to the idea that there is no forum or format to work through
complaints or procedure, that's just not correct.  There are internal
procedures that exist for all employees who wish to raise these kinds of
claims.  White House employees who feel they've been subject to
discrimination may file a grievance with the White House Equal Employment
Opportunity Office.  These complaints are handled in accordance with
federal antidiscrimination Law, which requires counseling and mediation
before an employee may proceed to court.  These procedures exist to protect
the civil rights of all White House employees.

          The employees here, including those in the Executive Residence,
are provided information about their EEO rights
and the process for filing a grievance through the dissemination of
information and training, particularly the new employees with EOP are given
a 15-page manual that explains their rights under the law and the
procedures available to protect them.  So I think there clearly is a system
in place to deal with this.

          Q    Joe, it is true, though, that the President was directed,
under this 1996 law, to establish procedures governing bringing about
complaints about discrimination --

          MR. LOCKHART:  I don't know how the system started or what
directed it, but there clearly is a system in place.

          Q    Some people on Capitol Hill are saying the White House is
strongly or seriously considering releasing crude oil from the SPR.  Are
there any new developments on that?

          MR. LOCKHART:  I've got no new developments to report to you.
Obviously, you know what's happened as far as our discussion with the OPEC
producers, you know what we've done as far as the Northeastern Heating Oil
Reserve establishment and acquiring oil for that.  You also know what we've
tried to do and have been stymied on as far as the long-term energy program
with Congress.  As far as what you raise in your particular question, as
we've said for some days, all options remain on the table, but no

          Q    Are you planning any --

          Q    A follow-up on that.  The President yesterday said that he's
considering all these options.  Can you define what some of these options
are that are being mulled over?

          MR. LOCKHART:  I'm not going to detail, in the middle of policy
debates, everything we're considering, but you can rest assured that we're
looking at every possible policy option at our disposal, the merits of it
and the impact we think it would have on those who are most affected, and
when and if we come to a conclusion that will employ new initiatives, we'll
let you know.

          Q    Are you planning any inter-agency meetings or any White
House meetings on the issue in the near future?

          MR. LOCKHART:  There's an ample procedure for inter-agency
discussion on all economic matters chaired out of the NEC, and I think
there have been a number of discussions concerning energy policy.

          Q    Tomorrow is the deadline for the CIA to declassify documents
on Chile.  Do you know yet whether it's been decided if that still will
happen tomorrow and how many documents will be released?

          MR. LOCKHART:  As many of you know, a final release of the
declassified documents on human rights abuses and terrorism and other acts
of political violence which really was scheduled for tomorrow.  You know
that this is, I think, the third tranche in this.  We've done two, this is
the third.

          The National Security Advisor has decided to delay the release,
temporarily, of this third tranche in order to complete a further review of
certain documents related to U.S. covert action in Chile.  Basically, we
want to make sure we get this done right and we are as responsive as we are
able to, as far as the fullest-possible disclosure of documents, so there
will be a temporary delay on that.

          Q    Joe, have you provided any kind of an estimate, just a rough
estimate on the dollar value of the actions taken today on the fishing?

          MR. LOCKHART:  I don't have one.  We'll try to get one.

          MR. SIEWERT:  They're coming up with proposals that will come
back to us later.

          MR. DIRINGER:  That's one of the directions, is to develop those

          MR. LOCKHART:  Okay.

          Q    So nothing, not even of a rough --

          MR. LOCKHART:  No, that again I think is Jake and Elliot
suggested, that's part of the process.

          Q    Is there an economic concern that just 18 months after
Japan's economy has finally recovered, with some U.S. help, that actions
like this or that might be considered would again throw them off?

          MR. LOCKHART:  I think we are weighing what we believe is the
impact of their actions, versus a number of things, and this was the
appropriate response.

          Q    Since you acknowledge that there were friends of the First
Lady's who were also contributors that stayed over night at the White
House, has their been an increase in the number of people staying here
since her Senate campaign?

          MR. LOCKHART:  I honestly haven't done any analysis on that.

          Q    Back on the SPR, do you know when you might be able to
respond to Senator Schumer and Collins on their request to release
something from the SPR?

          MR. LOCKHART:  I know that Senator Schumer has been calling for
this now for many months, that we have a process that is continually
looking at how best to deal with the rising cost of energy prices.  We've
done a number of things.  We wish we could do more.  We wish we could get
members of Congress to take steps on things like tax credits for energy
efficiency.  We wish they hadn't zeroed out money for the next generation
of vehicles.
          You know, you can get a lot more on a gallon of gas if a car gets
100 miles an hour than if it gets 15 to 20, so we're hoping that they will
be more forthcoming in the next four weeks on that effort, but we continue
to look at all of our options, what we can get done now.

          Q    Joe, you said this morning that you're taking a step
backwards on the patients' bill of rights in discussions yesterday.  Does
that mean that you're closing the book on getting a patients' bill of
rights in this session of Congress?

          MR. LOCKHART:  No, listen, I tend to believe that this time of
year, this close to an election, the patients' bill of rights will have a
lot of life to it, with the vast majority of this country, a large majority
in the House, and a majority in the Senate, are supportive of the
Norwood-Dingell bill.

          I think Senator Nickles certainly has it within his power to use
Senate rules to block this bill, but I think as the days go on, there will
be increasing pressure to get something done here, so we still believe we
can get this done.

          Q    Joe, the House just failed to override the President's veto
of the Marriage Penalty bill.  Any reaction to that, and then, what kind of
implication would this have for your negotiations on the budget this year?

          MR. LOCKHART:  Well, you have to excuse us if we're a little
confused, and the American public's a little confused on where the
Republican Majority is.  You know, on the same day that they try to
override a presidential veto because it is not fiscally disciplined to go
about eliminating the marriage penalty, they are now also talking about the
merits of debt relief.  I think it's a classic case of trying to have it
both ways.

          We're going to continue to try to put aside the rhetoric and
whatever gimmickry is going to come this year from the Republican Majority,
and make sure we invest in our priorities and keep us on the path of
putting this country in a debt-free position by the year 2012.

          Q    Joe, does the President intend to watch the First Lady's
debate live tonight, or when it's replayed later?

          MR. LOCKHART:  It's unclear to me.  I expect he will watch it.  I
don't know that he'll be able to see it live, because I think you're going
to have to be in New York for that.  They're looking into seeing if there's
a way to see it.  If now, he'll watch it when it's rebroadcast at 10:00

          Q    And Jake said a little bit about it yesterday, but has he
actually participated in sort of podium training for her?  Has it extended
that far, where he's actually been a participant in that way?

          MR. LOCKHART:  I don't know the full extent.  I know that,
obviously the President has participated in dozens of debates over his
political career.  This is the First Lady's first political debate, I
think, in sort of any format, whether it be going back to a political
campaign.  I don't think she was a debater in college or anything like
that, so I think this is very much a first for her, and a new experience.

          The President, I think, is quite effective at this, has a lot of
experience, and has a lot to offer.  How much advice he has given her, I'm
not sure.

          Q    On what format, Joe?

          MR. LOCKHART:  Yes.  I'm just not sure how that's -- but I think
the First Lady, from time to time, looks to the President and looks to get
something from the experience that he's been through, whether it's debates
or big speeches.  And he's -- as he indicated yesterday -- he's happy to

          Q    Joe, speaking of the First Lady, a new book says that the
President left it up to his personal attorney, David Kendall, to tell Mrs.
Clinton about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, and also that Harold
Ickes, a close advisor of the President, went to Mr. Sweeney and asked him
for guidance on how to persuade the -- a plan to persuade the President he
might have to resign.  Do you know if there's any truth in either of those?

          MR. LOCKHART:  I don't know.  I thought I had heard everything
there was to hear about that period of our history.  These are two things
that I hadn't heard before, but I don't plan to become a historian on the

          Q    Well, have you made any attempt to ask anybody?

          MR. LOCKHART:  No.  Nor do I intend to.

          Q    Joe, in the small business tax cuts attached or linked with
minimum wage end up being $76 billion and not scaled back at all, would
that be a deal-breaker?

          MR. LOCKHART:  Well, I think there's still more work that needs
to be done to make the minimum wage -- to make some of the provisions
within their proposal acceptable.  Again, it is somewhat beyond us to
understand why minimum wage has to become the dumping ground for special
tax breaks.  We ought to just pass this clean.

          But since the Republicans have made it very clear that they are
not going to do that, pass a clean minimum wage, give working families in
this country a raise, without something in return, we are faced with
working out something that makes sense, that's fiscally disciplined.  That
work is ongoing.

          Q    Joe, the Republicans indicated yesterday that of all the tax
provisions, that's one that seems on the way towards some kind of an
agreement.  Is that -- do you have the same perspective here?

          MR. LOCKHART:  I don't know.  I think they may be counting their
special interest tax breaks before they hatch.

          Q    Joe, why aren't you willing to commit to going to this trip
to Ireland?  Are you waiting to make sure that it's a more stable area,
because it's been -- it's coming up --

          MR. LOCKHART:  No, I think the President -- it's frankly a
logistical question.  Over the next several months, the President's
schedule is completely full, and I think he indicated to the leaders today
that this is something he'd very much like to do.  He very much appreciated
the invitation, but we're not in a position to be making sort of
December-January scheduling decisions right now.

          Q    Even though the Taoiseach announced to the press when he
came out of the Waldorf last week that the President was coming the second
week in December.  Is that just misinformation?

          MR. LOCKHART:  Well, I think that he may know more about the
President's schedule than I do; he may not.  I thought in my answer, I --
if you dissected it a little bit, I dropped a fairly large hint, but if I
need to be more explicit, I won't be.  (Laughter.)

          Q    Joe, you just said you had dropped a hint.  Have you ever
sent a --

          MR. LOCKHART:  I'm going to stop dropping hints.  (Laughter.)

          Q    Have you ever used that podium during your time  there to
send subliminal messages?  (Laughter.)

          MR. LOCKHART:  No.  No, but there is a serious point here, which
is, if you -- if one of the television networks are kind enough to let you
go back and listen to this briefing backwards, you will find out that Paul
is indeed dead.  (Laughter.)

          Are we done?

          Q    You have to be a certain age to get that.

          MR. LOCKHART:  I know.  This part of the room got it.
(Laughter.)  Thanks.

                         END                   12:42 P.M. EDT


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