White House Gaggle
November 6, 2007
Briefer: Dana Perino
President Bush had his usual morning briefings. At 10 am, he will make remarks at the White House Forum on International Trade and Investment. At 12.23 pm, the President meets with the Import Safety and Working Group in the Oval Office. At 12.50 pm, he makes remarks on Import Safety in the Roosevelt Room. Later this afternoon, the President has two interviews, first with French television TF1, and then with German Television RTL/NTV. This evening, President and Mrs. Bush welcome the President of France, followed by a social dinner in the State Dining room of the White House.
White House Press Secretary Dana Perino will be joined by Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt for the 1 pm briefing.
When asked if the White House is encouraging political activists protesting, and taking to the streets of Pakistan, Perino said that the United States has urged for there to be calm, and exercise of restraint by all parties. The White House wants to see immediate return to civilian rule. Perino was also asked if there are any considerations by the Administration to cut off any funding for Pakistan, and she replied that there is a review underway, though it is premature to see the outcome just yet. Perino wanted to remind the press that “Pakistan has been helping the Unites States and our allies to beat back extremists and terrorists. They have moved down the path of democracy, and they have made a mistake. They have had a setback in their democracy and the key is to try to get them back on that road as quickly as possible; not through, necessarily punishment immediately, but through trying to help them see that they made a mistake . . . ”
Going back to previous statements by the Press Secretary where she talked about Secretary Rice addressing President Musharraf before these incidents, Perino was asked if we know what Musharraf said in response to Secretary Rice’s urge against such actions. She replied that she did not know, and directed further questions to the State Department. In a follow-up question, Perino was asked if the President’s softer language in his speech yesterday, in terms of Pakistan, was a way to keep the friendship with President Musharraf; and she replied, “The President knows that President Musharraf is well aware of how the President views this situation; he is deeply concerned about it and he wants to have a civilian rule. ” She also stated, ” We have to figure out a way to help them get on their way back on the path to democracy . . . they have a long way to go, as we know from our own experience it takes a while . . . ”
President Sarkozy of France
When asked about the agenda for President Bush and the French President, Perino said that they would discuss a variety of issues, including Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, and climate change. One reporter also wanted to know if the French President is bringing a date for tonight’s dinner, and Perino said that she did not know.