Careful You Don’t Get None Of ThatBush Stank On You, Johnnie
Q I wanted to ask about McCain — three fundraisers next week. First of all, why are they closed? And second, do you all expect that sort of pace, I mean, three in a week, that kind of thing, to continue?
MS. PERINO: I think we’ll see — I think we’ll see, in terms of a pace.
The reason that they’re closed is that the McCain campaign has a practice of having their fundraisers as closed press; and these are in private residences, which is where we have had closed press fundraisers, as well.
Q To follow up — you’re saying that the McCain campaign announced it may they be closed?
MS. PERINO: I’m saying that the locations are at private residences and that — their practice has been closed press fundraisers for — across the board, both at private residences and other places. As you know, our practice has been somewhat different — when they’re at a larger locations like hotels, ours have been open. But that’s their practice and we’ll respect it.
Q Can we actually expect to see them together at any point publicly?
MS. PERINO: Next week?
Q Well, not necessarily next week, but in the near future?
MS. PERINO: Sure —
Q I mean, initially — (inaudible) supposed to be open, at least the first one —
Q So they will be together?
Q I mean, appearing publicly together?
MS. PERINO: They’ll be together in Arizona, but then we break off and we go on to Utah and —
Q Publicly, though?
MS. PERINO: Stay tuned for the details, but I think that you’ll see a — when we arrive or when we depart, I think there will be a chance.
Chimpy’s Just Too Busy
Q Just to follow up on that, the President endorsed McCain in March, and now two months, almost three months, when this actually happens, he’s going to be getting out to campaign for him. Why so long?
MS. PERINO: I think you need to look back and look at the President’s schedule, and also look at President John — President McCain has a nice ring to it, but it was a little bit premature. President Bush has done several fundraisers here in town, but he’s not raising money just for a McCain campaign, but for Republican candidates everywhere. President Bush is a formidable campaign fundraiser, as has been reported over the years, and I expect that he’ll continue to be.
But remember, he’s not on the ticket. And also, President Bush, since that time, in, it was early March — late February/early March — President Bush has had an international trip to NATO; he has traveled the country to host a international summit in New Orleans, where we hosted Prime Minister Harper and President Calderón; and then we just recently got back from a trip to the Middle East where the President is trying to help bring that region along to a Middle East peace conference. And we’ll do what we can when we can. But the President has Commander-in-Chief responsibilities. And next week we have a chance to go out — we’ll also be doing a commencement address at the Air Force Academy, and then we head off to another international trip in early June.
So we’ll do what we can when we can.
Q So it’s scheduling, that’s why?
MS. PERINO: I won’t say. But again, President Bush isn’t on the ticket. John McCain is on the ticket, and he’s the one who’s out there making the case for why he should be President of the United States.
Dana Throws McCain A Bone
Q You said several times that the President is not on the ticket. Are you seeking to distance the President from Senator McCain?
MS. PERINO: Victoria, I’m stating a fact.
Q Right, which we know.
MS. PERINO: Well, okay, then, no, I’m not — I’m seeking nothing but to tell you that the President is not on the ticket, he’s not running, and you can’t — you don’t expect for him to be out running for President. He’s done that twice and been successful.
Q Dana, have decisions been made on whether he will do campaign trips with McCain?
MS. PERINO: I don’t know if they’ve gotten that detailed yet, in terms of ramping up as we go over the next several months. So at this point, I couldn’t tell you. And I’m not really involved in those scheduling discussions.
If It Quacks Like A Duck…
Q Is the veto override vote on the farm bill and the vote on the Iraq supplemental evidence that the President is facing now a kind of lame duck syndrome where he doesn’t have the leverage with Congress that he once did?
MS. PERINO: I’ve been asked this question for about a year, and so I don’t —
Q Well, I’m asking it now — (inaudible) — actual vote.
MS. PERINO: And I know you’re asking it now. I think on the farm bill, though, I think that it says a lot more about Congress than it does about the President.
MS. PERINO: Well, I think that they’ve made a decision in an election year that they can throw caution to the wind and throw fiscal discipline out the window and pass a bill that will cost taxpayers an enormous sum of money. And the President had very clear principles all along the way on the farm bill, and they decided that Congress was going to overrun that. That’s their right. They didn’t quite do it exactly the way that they thought they would, but I’m sure that that will work itself out when they get back and they’ll be able to fix the mistake.
Q How about the war supplemental?
MS. PERINO: But on the war supplemental, we have a long way to go when it comes to the war supplemental.
Q So do you think there is a lame duck effect, or do you think that’s an urban myth?
MS. PERINO: I think that it — I don’t think that it applies, and especially in these two cases. I think that any time you have a Congress that’s nearing the last several months of their legislative session, they try to get more done as they get closer to these recesses, like Memorial Day recess. I am sure you’ll see a lot of activity leading up to that last week of July before they go on the Fourth of July recess, but time is running out to get a lot of things done.