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President Bush Holds a Press Conference in Des Moines, Iowa

Aired March 1, 2002 - 11:45   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Right now, we want to show you some tape that we're getting in. This is not live. This is some tape that we're getting in from President Bush's appearance in Des Moines, Iowa. He's taking some questions, and we want to listen in.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know where he is, but he understands, I think he now understands that this patience and determination is going to hunt him down, and he can't hide long enough.

And the other point I would like to make as I have said repeatedly, and most Americans understand this as well, that a war against terror is far greater than one person, that in order to defend freedom and protect our children, and our children's children that we must route out terror wherever it tries to hide, and that's why we are working with our coalition on an active basis to deny safe harbor, to disrupt financial plans, and the American people are beginning to see that we have been active beyond Afghanistan. We've obviously got activitiers in the Philippines, activities in Georgia, and we will hunt them down.

I'm real proud of our military. We have been at this for about six months, and we have been very successful in a quick period of time.

QUESTION: Mr. President, is there a shadow government in place since September 11th?

BUSH: A shadowy government or a shadow government?

QUESTION: A shadow government, and as part of the anti-terror effort, are you considering granting some form of aid to them?

BUSH: Let me see, there's two questions there. The first one is -- nice going. We take the continuity of government issue very seriously, because our nation was under attack, and I still take the threats that we receive from Al Qaeda killers and terrorist very seriously. I have an obligation as the president, and my administration has an obligation to the American people, to provide -- to put measures in place that should somebody be successful in attacking Washington D.C. there is an ongoing government. That is one reason why the vice president was going to undisclosed locations. This is serious business, and we take it seriously.

As far as Yemen goes, Yemen is a country that I have had very good discussion with the president of Yemen. I made it clear it him as well as other presidents of nations that either you are with us or not with us. And then if you are with us, we expect results.

I don't know if you remember my speech to the United Nations where I said thanks to all the condolences and flowers, now it time for action, that if you are part of our coalition, we expect you to work diligently and work hard to arrest Al Qaeda killers, Al Qaeda members, or people who aid and abet Al Qaeda, and the Yemen government is responding.

Oftentimes I ask, what are the particulars you are doing in a particular government. I'm not going to talk about ongoing operations. I will just tell you what wherever we find an Al Qaeda presence, we will work with the government to route them out. In other words, this war against terror is far broader than Afghanistan, and we;re making good progress -- Yes.

QUESTION: Some of the legal action seeking documents from the energy task force has been successful. It looks like some of the documents are going to be released.

BUSH: That's fine with me.

QUESTION: Are you concerned about some of the information that's out there?

BUSH: No.

QUESTION: Raising doubts about your energy...

BUSH: No, I am not concerned at all. As a matter of fact, I hope the Energy Department gets the documents out there as quickly as they possibly can.

I am concerned, though, about a Congress trying to make privilege the private conversations the president or vice president has. In other words, I receive advice, and in order for people to give me sound advice, that information ought not to be public. Somebody is not going to walk into the Oval Office thinking the conversation will be public and give me good sound advice. And therefore, the GAO overstepped its bounds to try get advice given to the vice president and me. We resisted. But in terms of honoring the Pfeizer request, the freedom of information request to our department, of which different groups are illegally entitled to do, you bet. And we receive interesting advice from a lot of people on energy plan.

First of all, we're the first administration to put forth an energy plan, and this nation needs an energy plan. The more dependent we are on foreign sources of crude oil, the less we are...

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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