CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Bush Makes Comments Before Meeting with Advisers
Aired January 21, 2003 - 10:47 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, we're waiting now for the latest tape to come out of the White House pool group that went in and listened in as President Bush was about to begin a meeting with his economic advisers this morning, and here now is the tape, first time we've seen it.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let me make a couple of comments about the meeting we just had, and I'd be glad to answer a couple of questions (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for you in a minute.
I want to thank some of our nations leading economists for coming today to share their thoughts with me about our economy, the strength of our nation, how best to make sure people can find work.
We had a great discussion about the plan that I laid out for the Congress to consider and to enact, a plan which focuses on job creation, a plan which recognizes that money in the consumer's pocket will help grow this economy, a plan that recognizes that there are some long-term things we can do to make sure the investor feels comfortable taking risks in America.
It is a plan that recognizes that economic growth is not as strong as it should be. It's a plan that's good for all Americans. It is a plan that addresses our needs, and it's a plan that Congress needs to pass.
These economists can speak for themselves after they leave, but they have given good advice and sound judgment, and for that I'm grateful.
I'll take a couple of questions.
QUESTION: Sir, last week, in this room, you came out against quotas which have been unconstitutional for 25 years. You (OFF-MIKE) and that is whether race can be used as a factor in admissions. Dr. Rice says it could be; Colin Powell says it should be. What is your position...
BUSH: My position is that, as the brief says, that there are clearly unconstitutional means to achieve diversity. There are race- neutral ways to achieve diversity, which I have put in place as the governor of Texas, and that we'll leave the courts to define the outer limits of the Constitution.
QUESTION: Yes... (CROSSTALK)
QUESTION: ... answer my question, though.
BUSH: I just answered it.
BUSH: No, I answered it. The courts will make the definition of the outer limits of the -- and as Condi Rice said, she felt very comfortable saying on national TV the decision I made was the right decision.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. The French are saying it would block the U.N. resolution, authorizing force on Iraq. Are you frustrated by these comments? Can you still reach a consensus?
BUSH: Well, first of all, it's important for the American citizens and the citizens around the world to understand that Saddam Hussein possesses some of the world's deadliest weapons. He poses a serious threat to America and our friends and allies.
The world came together, including the French, to say he must disarm. He's not disarming.
As a matter of fact, it appears to be a re-run of a bad movie. He is delaying. He's deceiving. He's asking for time. He's playing hide-and-seek with inspectors.
One thing is for certain, he's not disarming. And so the United States of America, in the name of peace, will continue to insist he does disarm, and we will keep the pressure on Saddam Hussein.
QUESTION: Mr. President, when do you intend to make a decision about whether or not the inspection process is actually, has any hope of really disarming Saddam?
BUSH: Well, it is clear to me now that he is not disarming. And surely our friends have learned lessons from the past. Surely, we have learned how this man deceives and delays.
I mean, he's given people the runaround. And as many of my advisers said on TV this week, time is running out.
I believe, in the name of peace, he must disarm. And we will lead a coalition of willing nations to disarm him, make no mistake about that. He will be disarmed.
QUESTION: When (UNINTELLIGIBLE) decide when that moment comes...
BUSH: I will let you know when the moment has come.
QUESTION: Who is in that coalition of the willing? BUSH: You will find out who is in the coalition of the willing. It's very much like what happened prior to our getting a resolution out of the United Nations: Many of the punditry -- of course, not you...
BUSH: ... but other punditry were quick to say, "No one is going to follow the United States of America." And we got a unanimous resolution out of the United Nations.
And the United States has made it clear, our intention, and our intention is to work with the world for Saddam to disarm. He's been given ample time to disarm. We have had ample time now to see that the tricks of the past -- he's employing the tricks of the past today. He's giving people the runaround. He wants to play hide-and-seek. He's got a vast country.
He wants to focus the attention of the world on inspectors. This is not about inspectors; this is about a disarmed Iraq. He has weapons of mass destruction, the world's deadliest weapons, which pose a direct threat to the United States, our citizens and our friends and allies.
He has been told to disarm for 11 long years. He's is not disarming. This business about, you know, more time. You know, how much time do we need to see clearly that he's not disarming?
As I said, this looks like a re-run of a bad movie. And I'm not interested in watching it.
All right. Thank you all.
HARRIS: Once again, President Bush begins his day with some harsh words for Saddam Hussein and for the situation there in Iraq. And as we can see here, it appears as though there is not much movement of the Bush administration toward where the U.N. Security Council happens to be right now. Strong distinctions there.
President Bush this morning saying about Iraq, It is clear to me right now that Saddam is not disarming, and as you just heard him say there it looks like the rerun of a bad movie, and it is one he doesn't feel like watching.
He also had something to say about his stance on affirmative action. Didn't really come out and establish a position one way or the other, he just said that he thinks that he's going to leave it to the courts to determine the outer limits of the constitutionality of the policies enacted around the country.
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