with Secretary of State Colin Powell
The Coffee Station
August 6, 2003
11:45 A.M. CDT
THE PRESIDENT: First, it's been my real privilege and honor to welcome the
Secretary of State back to Crawford. He and Dick Armitage came, and we spent
yesterday evening and this morning talking about our country's desire to promote
peace and freedom, our obligations as a prosperous and strong nation to help
the less fortunate. And we had a good strategy session, and now we're about
to go out and brand some cows -- well, not exactly. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Sir, what are your thoughts --
THE PRESIDENT: let me answer a couple of questions and we'll -- a little
more order here to this particular press coverage, because this is Crawford.
QUESTION: UESTION: I'm sorry.
QUESTION: UESTION: Thanks, Mr. President. You sent an advance force, or you're authorizing
an advance force in Liberia. Does this signal the start of a larger force
THE PRESIDENT: This is all part of determining what is necessary to help
ECOWAS -- now called ECOMIL -- to go in and provide the conditions necessary
for humanitarian relief to arrive, whether it be by sea or by air. And it's
part of what we said we would do.
QUESTION: UESTION: Do you still want Taylor out? Is that still a condition, a hard condition?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, we would like Taylor out. The Secretary may want to
comment on this, he's working hard with the -- you know, the U.N. and others
to insist that Mr. Taylor leave.
SECRETARY POWELL: We still expect President Taylor to leave. I'm pleased
at what ECOWAS has been able to do. The Nigerians showed up in good order,
more forces are arriving and they're starting to establish a sense of security
and I think put hope back in the hearts of the Liberian people and we want
to support them and assist them, as the President said.
THE PRESIDENT: Patsy.
QUESTION: UESTION: Sir --
QUESTION: UESTION: I'm sorry, what do you want from the American troops?
THE PRESIDENT: -- you're dominating here. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: UESTION: Sir, do you want the -- sorry.
THE PRESIDENT: -- your editors appreciate it.
QUESTION: UESTION: Do you want the Israelis to stop construction of the fence, or just re-route
it? And will you use loan guarantees to persuade them?
THE PRESIDENT: We're talking to Israel about all aspects of the fence. I
made it clear I thought the fence was a problem, and so we're talking with
them and we'll continue to work on this issue, as well as other issues. I
do believe we're making progress.
The key for a peace to happen is for both parties to assume their necessary
obligations and responsibilities, to create the conditions so that people
have confidence, that people know that their lives will be safe and that
prosperity can break out. And we're making progress there.
Stretch, and then we'll go to you, John, and then Elizabeth. You've got
to speak above the train.
QUESTION: UESTION: I'm competing here with the train. Do you think you've done enough at
this point to stimulate the economy? Is it a matter of just kind of letting
things that you've put into place take effect, take hold, or is there more
that needs to be done?
THE PRESIDENT: Look, there's no question that the tax relief -- (train whistle)
-- first we've got to have better rail transportation. (Laughter.)
The tax cuts will help a lot. And the second round of tax relief is now
ending up in the pockets of our fellow citizens. The child tax credit checks
are now being mailed. And that's going to help. But there needs to be more.
And there needs to be an energy plan, there needs to be good litigation reform.
I believe we can get a good class action lawsuit out of the Senate if we
continue to work the issue. I also know that we need to make sure we continue
this notion of reminding the investors and consumers alike that we're going
to have fiscal discipline in Washington, D.C. So, yes, there's more we can
do, and will do.
QUESTION: UESTION: Sir, you've seen the report that Secretary Powell and Secretary Armitage
are going to leave at the end of this administration. Do you expect them
to stay on if there is a second Bush administration? Would you like them
THE PRESIDENT: Well, first things first, we hope there is a second Bush
administration. And I will work hard to convince the American people that
their confidence in me is justified. And we'll deal with it at the right
Listen, this guy has done a fabulous job. Washington, particularly in August,
is a dangerous period -- a dangerous time, because there's a lot of speculation.
And all I can tell you is, the man flies to Crawford and we spend a good
24 hours talking about how we're going to work together to make the world
a better place.
QUESTION: UESTION: But, Mr. President, you said, we'll deal with it --
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Elizabeth.
QUESTION: UESTION: -- we'll deal with it at the right time. That isn't "yes."
THE PRESIDENT: Deal with what at the right time?
QUESTION: UESTION: With whether Secretary Powell will serve in a second term. Is that, "yes" or "no"?
I mean, are you going to offer him a spot in the second term?
SECRETARY POWELL: I don't have a term. I serve the President. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: UESTION: No, but the President --
THE PRESIDENT: Elizabeth, look, first things first, and that is, we've got
a year-and-a-while during my first term to make the world a more peaceful
place and we'll deal with it. Washington loves speculation. Clearly, you
love speculation. You love it. You love to speculate about --
QUESTION: UESTION: It wasn't my story. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: Let me finish, please; let me finish. You love to speculate
about whether so-and-so is going to be a part of the administration or not.
And I understand the game. But I have got to do my job, and I'm going to
do it. And I'm going to do it with the Secretary of State. And the fact that
he is here in Crawford, Texas, talking about issues of importance, should
say loud and clear to the American people that he's completely engaged in
doing what he needs to do, and that is, serve as a great Secretary of State.
QUESTION: UESTION: Do you want to serve more than four years, Mr. Secretary?
SECRETARY POWELL: I serve at the pleasure of the President, and this is
all August speculation with no basis in fact. There was no basis for this
story to begin with, and we're doing our jobs together.
THE PRESIDENT: All right. We're going to get a burger. Thank you.