Public Papers - 1990 - July
Exchange With Reporters Aboard Air Force One
The President. Well, this is not yet another news conference, but I just want to welcome everybody. We're looking forward to this weekend. Thank you very much.
Supreme Court Nomination of DavidH.Souter
Q. How do you gauge the initial reaction of the Senate to your nominating -- --
The President. Very favorable, so far. It's hard to tell about the Senate because a lot have not expressed their views. But nationally, I'm very pleased, and there seems to be a well-deserved support for Judge Souter. So, we'll see.
Q. Do you expect any difficulty with the confirmation?
The President. Well, I don't really think so. I hope not. I talked yesterday to Senator Thurmond, who is our ranking man on Judiciary, and he was giving me a little across-the-board assessment. And then Senator Rudman, I think, has a positive feeling.
Q. Think he'll sail through? No -- --
The President. Well, I don't know. I mean, I hope so. I think it deserves to. But I've been very pleased with the initial response; and then the second wave, I think, is very positive because the more people that know him and speak up -- it seems to be broad support.
Q. About the only complaint seems to be that nobody knows -- people seem to be not sure where he stands. Marshall [Supreme Court Associate Justice] said he'd never heard of him.
The President. Well, I think he's not the most well-known figure in the country, but that's not why I selected him. So, he'll be plenty well-known when he gets testifying and gets through this process, which I think he'll do with flying colors.
Q. Did you see Thurgood Marshall's interview last night?
The President. No, I didn't.
Q. Did you hear about it?
The President. Yes.
Q. Would you respond to it?
The President. My response is: I have great respect for the Supreme Court, and I have no comment at all on it -- none.
Q. He says Mr. Sununu [Chief of Staff to the President] is calling the shots on this.
The President. I have no comments at all on this incident. I have a very high regard for separation of powers and for the Supreme Court, and thus I think people can get along without a comment from me on this interview.
Federal Budget Negotiations
Q. How about the budget, Mr. President? Are the Democrats dragging their feet, or -- --
The President. Well, we're going to have more meetings next week. And I think we're narrowing some differences, Sandy [Sandy Gilmour, NBC News], but it's not dramatic progress at all. So, I'm still sticking by our agreement, and we'll see where we go here next week.
Q. Will you keep them in town, if necessary, in order to -- --
The President. Well, part of the agreement is not to discuss details of what we're talking about. And that subject is, as you know, being widely discussed.
Q. Details of your plan, and whether your plan will have them out?
The President. Well, on both sides, yes.
Q. What's been the reaction to the plan?
The President. Well, you know, I'm not locked into any specific proposal. And it would be bad faith for me to start taking one part or another out of a proposal. But again, I think both Dick Darman [Director of the Office of Management and Budget], who is really kind of the lead for the White House -- he and Brady [Secretary of the Treasury] -- and then Dick Gephardt [House majority leader] are dealing in very good faith here. And so, let's see where we come out on it. But I'm not going into any specifics on any plan.
Supreme Court Nomination of DavidH.Souter
Q. Going back to Judge Souter, is there a precondition that he had expressed that he would not come to Washington unless you promised not to ask him his specific opinions on some of these controversial issues?
The President. No, no.
Q. Senator Rudman sort of indicated that he had expressed that view to him.
The President. I think he's going to come back and chat, but nothing on my side on that.
Q. Mr. President, is there anything you can do about OPEC raising the price by 5 cents or 10 cents a gallon on gasoline?
The President. No, there's not a thing in the world we can do about it. The market forces, as always, will determine what the ultimate prices are, though. You know, they make these agreements, and then markets have a funny way of dominating. But there's nothing we can do on an OPEC decision.
Q. The national anthem -- should there be a constitutional amendment to protect -- desecration of the national anthem?
Q. Yes, how about Roseanne Barr? What was your reaction to the song?
The President. My reaction is: It was disgraceful. That's the way I feel about it, and I think a lot of the San Diego fans said the same thing. But anyway, that's -- --
Q. Does this mean that Roseanne Barr won't be coming to the White House real soon?
The President. There's no change of plans in that. [Laughter]
Q. You mean, you're going to stop watching her show?
The President. Which show?
Note: The exchange occurred while the President was en route from Washington, DC, to his home in Kennebunkport, ME. In his remarks, the President referred to comedienne Roseanne Barr's performance of the national anthem at a San Diego Padres baseball game. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.