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Press Gaggle by Dana Perino

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 4, 2006

Aboard Air Force One
En Route Aurora, Colorado

12:03 P.M. MDT

MS. PERINO: Let's get started. The President, this morning, had his regular briefings. You all attended the remarks at Renzi for Congress. He signed the DHS appropriations bill and made remarks. We are now traveling to Colorado for the Bob Beauprez for Governor event. Then we will head back home. The President is due to arrive at the White House at 8:10 p.m.

I'm going to give a quick readout on tomorrow's event so you all have it for tomorrow. The President is going to be doing an education event. He will be going over to the Department of Education and is visiting a school. Just a couple comments on that -- that since the No Child Left Behind Act went into effect, Woodridge Elementary and Middle Campus has achieved some great success. The President chose to visit this school to highlight its clear record of improvement. And during his remarks, the President will highlight the No Child Left Behind positive impact on schools throughout our country and also discuss what else must be done in the future to ensure that every child receives a high-quality education.

I remind you that the No Child Left Behind Act is up for reauthorization in 2007. And I'll take your questions.

Q What is the Department of Education event? What will he do over there before he goes to the school?

MS. PERINO: He's going to be getting a briefing from Secretary Spellings. If you think back to August, when the President went to the State Department and the NCTC -- into, I think, the Pentagon, where he received briefings, it's a chance for him to go to the departments, hear from the Cabinet official and their supporting cast. So he will get that briefing. I believe there's pool coverage at the end. And then he'll go to the school after that.

Q -- the conference next week on school safety, is that going to come up tomorrow and will he talk about that?

MS. PERINO: The planning for next Tuesday's conference is underway back at the White House. If we have more information on any details of that, I'll try to get those to you this afternoon. I'm sure that in the context of the discussion tomorrow at the Department of Education it will come up. You'll also hear the President mention again -- of course, they had the tragedy in Colorado just last week, and he will mention school violence in Colorado in today's remarks at the Governor Beauprez event.

Q When the President talks about the Terrorist Surveillance Program and he says that the people who voted against that are saying they don't want to listen in on terrorist phone calls -- is that fair? A lot of people say we want to listen on terrorist phone calls, we just don't like the way you set up this program and the judicial oversight.

MS. PERINO: Yes, I think it is fair. What the President is saying, as he continues to draw clear distinctions between Republicans and Democrats in their approach to fighting the war on terror, is that they voted against it. They voted against the TSP. And I don't think it's fair that anyone be allowed to have it both ways. The President has been saying that the Democrats talk very tough on terror, but they don't follow through. And actions speak louder than words. And Americans don't send their congressmen to D.C. to talk tough; they send them there to take positions on issues and to vote. And I think what the President is saying is that when it came down to the vote, 177 -- 160 was the military commission bill, but 177 is the TSP bill -- when it came down to take that vote, they voted against it.

And professionals in the intelligence community have said this is a program that has saved lives and helped to detect and prevent terrorist attacks. They've gone up to the Hill, talked about the program at length and provided as much information as possible. They say that they need this program in addition to the other tools that we have, such as the FISA court, and that if they didn't have it they wouldn't be able to do their jobs as effectively as they have been.

So I think it's absolutely appropriate for the President to be able to remind people that someone can talk tough on terror, but when it comes down to actually taking the votes, they have said that they wouldn't have voted -- they don't support it, they wouldn't have voted for it. Now, I don't know what sort of changes that they would have proposed. And the President has said he doesn't question the patriotism; he questions the philosophical difference. And he is trying to lay that out clearly for voters as they make choices in November.

Q Do you have anything on these reports that -- of possible activity in North Korea that would suggest that they're preparing for a nuclear test?

MS. PERINO: Last night we issued a statement on the rumblings coming out of North Korea, and we expect that they would be listening to that statement. But I don't have anything today, in addition to what we said last night.

Q Has the President gotten any updated briefings on what's going on in Iraq with the police there involved, possibly, in some corruption with the sectarian violence?

MS. PERINO: He did get his regular briefings this morning. I can't tell you specifically if that was a part of it, but he is kept up to speed regularly, and I can find out if there's anything to add on that. I know that DOD spoke to it today. It's obviously very disturbing and troubling. I think it was Major Caldwell who I saw addressing it this morning. So I'd have to refer you to DOD for now, but I will check and see if there's anything else.

Q What would the President advise the Republican Party on how to handle this Foley scandal, in terms of the midterm elections being so close?

MS. PERINO: I think the President has his eye on the ball when it comes to campaigning and I think his advice to other candidates would be to be campaigning in their districts on the Republicans' clear record of achievement when it comes to protecting the country and making sure that we have policies in place that will ensure a strong and growing economy; drawing distinctions between the tough talk that we've heard, about the votes that are taken; and also the congressmen in their own words regarding tax policy, the higher taxes that they might advocate if they were to go into power.

So I think that keeping your eye on the ball would be the best advice, in terms of this midterm election season as we head into the home stretch.

Okay, thank you.

12:09 P.M. MDT


http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/10/20061004-4.html



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