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BUSH PRESS CONFERENCE

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By Michelle Malkin  •  May 31, 2005 11:07 AM

1044am. Our economy is strong, but we need to work together to make sure we have a prosperous economy…More Americans are working today than ever before. Home ownership is at all-time high…

[Lists four agenda items.]

1) Finish work on the energy bill.
2) Federal budget. Spending bills. Reining in mandatory spending.
3) Ratify CAFTA.
4) Social security reform (Note: Will Franklin brings some positive polling results to our attention.)

Media questions:

- Iraq/insurgency…I think the Iraqi people have dealt the insurgents a serious blow. What the insurgents fear is democracy. (See Omar at IraqtheModel’s report on Operation Lightning here.)
- Kremlin/Mikhail Khodorkovsky case…We’ve expressed our concerns.
- Decision to allow Iran to get WTO status/North Korea and Iran haven’t been deterred at all...Iran can apply. Did that to facilitate EU3 negotiations. In terms of N. Korea, they had a weapons program that they had concealed prior to 2002, prior to 2000. Enriching uranium contrary to agreement. I decided to change the policy. Important to have China at the table.
- Didn’t mention making tax cuts permanent. Oversight?…My budget encourages permanency. I believe it’s essential. I haven’t changed. Congress needs to make the tax cuts permanent.
- How come you can’t push through more of your agenda/Social Security…Easy path is to say oh we don’t have a problem, let’s ignore it, yet again. I’m not surprised that there’s a reluctance, initial push back. All that does is make me wanna continue to travel and convince Congress that they have a duty [to fix the problem]. Duty to respond.
- Amnesty International “gulag” quote about Gitmo. Your reaction? View not just held by extremists and anti-Americans. Strategic impact…I’m aware of the AI report. It’s an absurd allegation. The United States is a country that promotes freedom around the world. When there’s accusations made, they’re fully investigated in a transparent way. We’ve had 1000s of detainees…people trained to disassemble (sic), that means not tell the truth. (The Bush-bashers will be making hay of this. Just watch.)
- Congress “push back” (seems to be the phrase of the morning). Are you worried about losing momentum…My attitude toward Congress will be reflected on whether or not they’re capable of getting anything done. My role is to push for reform. The American people appreciate a president who is willing to put a problem on the table.
- How come you haven’t spoken against Uzbekistan crackdown or spoken about Egyptian elections…I have talked about Egyt. In terms of Uzbekistan, we called for International Red Cross to go in and determine what went on.
- Bolton nomination. Address demands for documents and filibustering…I thought he was going to get an up or down vote. I was disappointed that once again, the leadership in the Senate didn’t give him an up or down vote. We need to get our ambassadorship to the UN to help with reform. Bolton’s a no-nonsense kind of fella. Request for docs is another stall tactic. Delay. Stop stalling and give the man an up or down vote. It’s a stall headed toward filibuster. It’s taken a long time to get his vote. Been through hearings, questions, questionnaires. Pretty obvious you can tie up anything in the U.S. Senate if you want to. Hope he gets a vote soon.

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