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