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White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer Holds Daily Press Briefing

Aired July 10, 2002 - 12:45   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.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: We are going to take you live now to the White House, where Press Secretary Ari Fleischer is giving his daily briefing. Let's listen in.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: ... involved in the president's private transactions. That's the only contact that I'm aware of.

QUESTION: And does the president feel that all the furor about Harken Energy in any way detracted from his message yesterday, undermined its effectiveness in any way?

FLEISCHER: No, the president, as he said to the members of Congress this morning, thinks that this is an issue where Congress can and should fulfill its duties and responsibilities to the country so we can have an administration and a Congress work together to fight corporate corruption.

The president told the members this morning that, if you take a look at what's been passed by, I think it was a 360 to 90 vote by the House of Representatives in terms of cleaning up corporate fraud, abuse, and compare it to what is currently moving through the United States Senate, the president's words were that two measures are very close.

And that's how the president sees this. The president sees this as a real issue where the people in Washington can and should get something done to fight corporate corruption. That's what the American people expect, and that's what he's working on.

QUESTION: My question was, does the president feel that the questions raised primarily by Democrats in some way undermine the effectiveness of his message yesterday, even the amount of criticism it got?

FLEISCHER: No. That's why I indicated to you that's where the president is focused.

QUESTION: Comment and a question.

FLEISCHER: I'm sorry... QUESTION: Comment she asked me not to do, but I'm taking a liberty, the grand lady of the front row who had a great date at the Palace restaurant on Tuesday in Washington. She had a lot of good things to say about you.

(LAUGHTER)

FLEISCHER: Must have been a case of food poisoning.

(LAUGHTER)

QUESTION: I told him.

FLEISCHER: Helen, you don't have the floor. I'm very interested in this.

QUESTION: The question. According to the reports, the U.S. war effort the military's concern is over in Afghanistan, but the troubles are still there because the Karzai government is in trouble, the terrorists and guerrillas are back in Afghanistan, and his vice president was murdered and now, what is the future of Afghanistan as far as the president is concerned and is he really concerned about the future?

FLEISCHER: Well, Afghanistan remains a very dangerous place on this earth. And the president is determined to continue to work with Afghanistan as Afghanistan emerges from the terror and the turmoil that the Afghani people have been put through, not only by the Taliban but, of course, by the war involving the Soviet Union prior to the Taliban, and the harshness of the Taliban.

It has left its scars on Afghani society, and Afghani society. Afghani society is rebuilding from that with the help and the assistance and the care of the United States government and the American people, as well as countless nations in the international community.

President Karzai is demonstrating strong leadership and trying to bring together various Afghani parties, but as the assassination of one of the Afghani vice presidents shows, it remains a dangerous place, and it remains a place the United States is committed to helping to find stability as we fight the war against terrorism.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) what president thinks of the war as far as U.S. military was always a concern. Is it over in Afghanistan right now?

FLEISCHER: Well, clearly it's not over. There remains danger in Afghanistan. And as the president said at the very beginning of this battle last October...

PHILLIPS: From the fight against terrorism to corporate corruption, Ari Fleischer addressing reporters there in his daily briefing.

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