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pd16au04 Remarks in a Discussion at Northern Virginia Community College in...


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    By the way, we've added a million kids over my administration who've 
received Pell grants to go to college. That's an achievement; I want to 
thank the Congress for working with us on that. It says, basically, when 
you're coming out of high school with the ability to go to college and 
you're poor, we're going to help you go. See, part of making sure that 
kids work hard in high school is that they realize there's help coming 
out of high school in order to be able to continue to realize their 
dreams.
    No, we're making great progress on education. There's more to do, 
and that's why I want to continue being the President.
    Any other questions here? Yes, ma'am.

Small and Minority Business/Tax Policy

    Q. Hi. I'm a woman businessowner, along with my husband. And I'd 
like to know what encouragement you have for minority business 
development at a Federal and local level for contracting. Thank you.
    The President. Yes. No, I appreciate that. First of all, the SBA is 
geared up to help small minority businesses. We've increased the number 
of loans out of SBA by 40 percent, all aimed at spreading the 
entrepreneurial spirit.
    Secondly, the best thing that can happen--I can't speak for local 
government. You're going to have to call the mayor or the Governor or 
something like that, anyway. [Laughter] But I can talk about Federal 
contracting. And the best thing--I think Federal contracting ought to be 
used to enhance entrepreneurship and small businesses. And therefore, 
we've got to make sure that Federal contracts are broken down to small--
smaller contracts so small businesses have a chance to participate.
    By the way, good tax policy--I can't emphasize enough the need to 
have good tax policy. If you're a small business and your small business 
is beginning to grow, and the Government runs the taxes up on you, it's 
going to make it harder to survive, pure and simple. And that's why it's 
very important for us in this campaign--for people listening to this 
campaign to remember that when you got about $2.2 trillion of new money 
promised to spend, you've got to figure out how to pay for it. Yes, I 
know how he's going to pay for it: You're going to pay for it. But we're 
not going to let him. That's why we're going to win the campaign.
    Yes.

Iran/North Korea/Cooperation in Foreign Policy

    Q. I'm concerned about the nuclear threat coming out of Iran.
    The President. Yes.

[[Page 1512]]

    Q. I was just wondering if you could comment on that.
    The President. Well, I appreciate that. He's concerned about Iran, 
as am I. That's why early in my administration I talked about Iran in 
vivid terms. First of all, you've got to understand that every situation 
requires a different response when it comes to foreign policy, and so we 
tailor our responses based upon the reality of the moment. And first is 
to make it clear to the world that Iran must abandon her nuclear 
ambitions. That's part of the role of the United States, and to work 
with others to send that same message. The IAEA is the agency 
principally responsible for the Iranian nuclear program. We're working 
closely with them. We're making sure that we ask the hard questions to 
the IAEA so they ask the hard questions to the Iranians. We got the 
Iranians to sign what's called--not we, the world got the Iranians to 
decide--to sign what's called an additional protocol, which will allow 
for site inspections that normally would not have been allowed under 
IAEA. In other words, the groundwork, the ability to inspect as best as 
possible, is in place.
    Secondly, the tactics of our--as you know, we don't have 
relationships with Iran. I mean, that's--ever since the late '70s we 
have no contacts with them, and we've totally sanctioned them. In other 
words, there's no sanctions--you can't--we're out of sanctions. And so 
we've relied upon others to send the message for us. And the foreign 
ministers of Germany, France, and Great Britain have gone in as a group 
to send a message on behalf of the free world that Iran must comply with 
the demands of the free world. And that's where we sit right now. And my 
attitude is we've got to continue to keep pressure on the Government and 
help others keep pressure on the Government, so there's kind of a 
universal condemnation of illegal weapons activities.
    As well, the United States does have an opportunity to speak clearly 
to those who love freedom inside of Iran, and we are. There is a 
significant diaspora, here in the United States, of Iranian Americans 
who long for their homeland to be liberated and free. We're working with 
them to send messages to their loved ones and their relatives through 
different methodology. And one method--and very overt, I might add--
we've got radio broadcasts, a new radio broadcast system going into 
Iran--say, ``Listen, we hear your voice. We know you want to be free, 
and we stand with you in your desire to be free.''
    I will tell you, a free Iraq is going to send a clear message to 
people in Iran as well, that free societies are possible. That's why I 
say this is an historic moment in our history, and it really is. When 
you think about it, a free country in the midst of the Middle East will 
send a very clear signal that freedom is possible. In other words, there 
are reformers and people who want to be free watching carefully as to 
whether or not this country, which is the beacon of freedom, is strong 
enough not to wilt when the pressure gets significant.
    I tell this story a lot--I'll share it with you--about my friend 
Prime Minister Koizumi of Japan. And we were having Kobe beef one day 
and--it's quite good, I might add, and--[laughter]--this was in Tokyo. 
And you know what? We were talking about another subject that I'm sure 
is a concern of yours as well, and that's North Korea. And it was an 
amazing conversation, when you think about it, wasn't it, that I was 
talking to my friend, 55 years or so after World War II had ended, about 
how to keep the peace in a troubled part of the world. We made the 
decision--I made the decision that, on North Korea, that the kind of 
bilateral negotiations weren't working. If you might recall, my 
predecessor thought he had an arrangement with the North Koreans that 
they did not honor. And it's a lesson that it's important to remember.
    So I made the decision to bring other nations in to help send the 
same message to North Korea. It's a more effective way of doing things 
if there's more than one voice willing to say the same thing. That's why 
China is very much involved in the process now, which is helpful. And 
Japan is too. And so Prime Minister Koizumi and I were talking about how 
to make sure the six-party talks sent the same message to Kim Chong-il, 
which is, get rid of your nuclear weapons program and there will be--in 
a verifiable way that gives us all confidence that he has done

[[Page 1513]]

so, and then perhaps there's a way to help them economically.
    And during the course of the conversation, I became very thankful 
because my predecessors believed that Japan could self-govern. If you 
read some of the editorials and some of the writings right after World 
War II, there was a lot of doubt as to whether or not a country like 
Japan could self-govern, could be a democracy. But there were people 
here who had great faith in the transformation power--the transformative 
power of liberty and stood their ground. And there I was talking to a 
duly elected official of Japan about peace.
    Someday, an American President is going to be talking to elected 
officials, an elected official from Iraq, talking about how to keep the 
peace. Free societies are peaceful societies. And free societies join 
this fantastic alliance of those of us who long for peace deep in our 
heart, an alliance of countries willing to work on the tough issues like 
Iran and North Korea, all aimed at bringing these difficult solutions to 
a peaceful conclusion.
    And anyway, it's a long answer to an important question, but 
nevertheless, it's one--[applause]--let me finish; one other thing. It 
says that good foreign policy works with other countries, and we will. 
Remember now, one of the dangers of this world is the proliferation of 
weapons and technologies. And there's over 60 nations involved with the 
Proliferation Security Initiative, an initiative that we helped put 
together during my administration. Some 40 nations are involved in 
Afghanistan. Nearly 30 nations are involved in Iraq. We've got good, 
strong alliances of people working together. I'm never going to turn 
over our national security needs to leaders of other countries, however.
    Yes, sir. You look like a man with a question.
    Q. I drive a school bus, so I don't need your microphone. [Laughter]
    The President. Okay, good.

Judicial Nominees

    Q. [Inaudible]--concerned about the judicial nominees. I watch it 
every day on 
C-SPAN. I'd like to know what--[inaudible].
    The President. I appreciate that. Listen, his question is about the 
judicial nominees and the fact that they're roadblocked in the United 
States Senate by procedures that--have they ever been used before, 
George, the filibuster on judicial nominees? Never been used? According 
to Allen, they've never been used before. [Laughter] Not to this 
extent--he qualified it. [Laughter]
    But it's a problem, because I think my nominees deserve an up-or-
down vote on the floor of the United States Senate. So I guess, you 
know, they're playing politics. I appreciate your question, because 
they're playing politics. That's all that is. And I'm picking good 
people from all walks of life. I named a man to be on the DC District 
Court, Miguel Estrada, first-generation American citizen, a brilliant 
man. What a story. He comes over from--comes up from Honduras, learns 
the language, works hard, got a family that loved him. He's now named 
for the circuit court and gets turned down. They wouldn't even give him 
a vote. And that's just pure politics.
    You know what the answer to your question is? We've got to elect 
more Senators who aren't going to play politics with my nominees. I'm 
going to keep talking about it too. They may think they're going to wear 
me down; they're not. I'm going to keep talking about it. I'm going to 
keep telling the people of this country they've got a clear choice when 
it comes to President. They want people on the court who will strictly 
interpret the law, they ought to put me back in. If they want somebody 
who is going to put judges that will try to write the law from the 
bench, they got the wrong man in George W. I'm not changing, either.
    All right, last question. You've got one? Go ahead, and yell her 
out. Oh, then he better take the mike, then. Yes, put it up there. Say 
that again so everybody can hear it.

Support for Volunteer Fire Departments/Trade Policy

    Q. I'm from Southside, Virginia, and I've helped the volunteer fire 
departments a number of years. We've had times raising money. And since 
you've been in, the Federal money that you appropriated to us, we 
appreciate it a lot.

[[Page 1514]]

    The President. You bet, thanks. First of all, he and I share a 
couple of things in common. We're both voting for me. [Laughter] And we 
both support volunteer fire departments. I'm a proud supporter of the 
Crawford Volunteer Fire Department. And you're--what's your volunteer 
fire department?
    Q. Chase City.
    The President. There you go. Chase City, Virginia.
    Let me talk about rural life real quick. One of the things--are 
there any farmers here? Yes, there you go. The farm economy is strong. 
You know why? One, good policy; good tax policy; and secondly--and 
thirdly, because we're opening up markets. If you're good at something 
like growing things, like people in Virginia are, they ought to be 
selling their product overseas in different markets around the world.
    Let me tell you real quick about trade policy. There's a lot of talk 
about it, and the temptation for the other side is to say, ``We'll--I'll 
handle it by becoming economic isolationists.'' That's no good, to kind 
of wall ourselves off from the rest of the world. That's pessimistic. 
And that will make it harder for small businesses to thrive and people 
to find good-paying jobs. Here's what--here's the reality of trade. Most 
Presidents believe that we should open up U.S. markets for foreign 
goods. You know why? Because it's good for consumers. The more 
opportunities consumers have to choose, the better price they'll get at 
better quality. That's the way the marketplace works. And that's the 
policy today, and opening up our markets has been beneficial to U.S. 
consumers.
    And so the fundamental question is, can we get other countries to 
treat us the way we treat them? That's trade policy. And the answer is, 
absolutely, we will.
    One way you do so is through agreements--is you negotiate free trade 
agreements. And we've done so for the benefit of U.S. farmers and 
manufacturers and entrepreneurs and, eventually, workers, because if 
you're selling product, for example, in Australia--we just got a new 
deal with Australia--if you're selling products in Australia, you're 
going to be working in order to make the product that the Australians 
are buying.
    And the second thing to do is to enforce laws. That's why we've gone 
after China a couple of times, to say to China, ``You must, if you're 
going to trade with us, be fair about how you treat our people and our 
products.''
    Now, you had a question? What is it? Both of you combine your 
question; then I've got to go back to work. Okay, you've got two.

Taiwan

    Q. Yes, I am Taiwanese American, and I am concerned about China has 
more than 500 missiles against Taiwan. How do you be able to keep the 
key area of peace for Taiwan and the world?
    The President. Yes, we just make it clear to both sides that our 
policy hasn't changed--``one China'' policy based upon the three 
communiques, and neither side shall unilaterally change the 
circumstances by which a peaceful resolution will be achieved. And 
that's just where we'll keep working both sides to see if we can't see 
that that very important issue be resolved peacefully. It's essential 
that both sides understand my position as clearly stated, and I've 
stated it publicly just like I just did, and I will continue to state 
it. And I'm convinced this issue can be solved peacefully. It's just 
going to take some time to do so. And we'll continue to work to see to 
it that it does.
    Where is the lady that wanted to ask a question? Do you have the 
same question he did or another one? Another one. Okay, this is the last 
question.

Government Fiscal Accountability/Federal Deficit

    Q. Mine is sort of different. I am more concerned about the 
Government waste. How do you propose to control either domestic waste 
within the spending, accountability for spending?
    The President. Yes.
    Q. And also, especially foreign aid. I tend to develop compassion 
fatigue when it comes to foreign aid when I hear about the U.N. Oil for 
Food Programme fraud. That's a very big concern----
    The President. Yes.

[[Page 1515]]

    Q. ----because I pay taxes, and I expect it to be spent wisely.
    The President. I appreciate that. That's a good question. I was 
hoping somebody would ask that question. [Laughter] Let me talk about 
budgeting and spending, and then I'll talk about accountability when it 
comes to spending.
    Let me--I'll start with that. I just came from a meeting with Clay 
Johnson. He's my close friend that--he was my college roommate, 
actually--who is the ``M'' in OMB, Office of Management and Budget. And 
his job as the ``M'' in OMB is to say to agencies, we expect there to be 
results-oriented systems throughout your agencies. And we've actually 
got a scorecard, a management scorecard, of how well agencies are doing 
with, for example, responding to taxpayers through e-mail, how well 
they're doing to make sure their programs are actually delivering 
results. And so we're working hard to see to it that these giant 
bureaucracies become results-oriented. There are all kinds of ways to 
measure, and we've got a good measurement system in place to do so.
    There is a--look, my job is to submit budgets that will bring 
confidence to the marketplaces, as well as to the taxpayers. And that 
means setting priorities and meeting those priorities without overtaxing 
the American people. And we have done that. I want you to know that--let 
me put in the context of the deficit.
    Yes, we've got a deficit, for three reasons. One, there was a 
recession. And a recession costs the Treasury money unless there's a 
corresponding cut in spending. And there wasn't.
    Two, there is a deficit because I made the decision to go after the 
enemy, and we were going to spend whatever money was necessary to defend 
ourselves. And the Congress supported me, by and large. Some in the 
Senate didn't support the $87 billion. [Laughter]
    Audience members. Boo-o-o!
    The President. But most of them did, guys like George Allen, who 
said if you're going to put people in harm's way, they deserve the right 
pay and right equipment.
    Thirdly, part of the reason we have this deficit is because I 
believed in order to get the economy moving forward, there should be tax 
relief. And it's working; the tax relief is working. It's going to be 
one of the interesting arguments in the campaign. I will make the case 
that it is working, and that you don't need to run up taxes.
    Now, when I first came into office, nonhomeland, nondefense 

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