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National Archives

Public Papers - 1992

Exchange With Reporters Aboard Air Force One

1992-03-16

Iraq

Q. Mr. President, exactly what is your approach towards Iraq at this point? There are constant stories about desires to take action, to put carriers -- [inaudible]. Where do you stand now?

The President. We stand that we are just insisting in every way we can that Iraq comply with the United Nations resolutions. And I'm not discussing options. All options are open. And we're consulting our allies, as we have in various phases of the Iraq situation. So I wouldn't read too much into the movement of a carrier, inasmuch as we have carrier elements up in the Gulf from time to time. But on the other hand, I think it's fair to say we are determined that they follow through on what they said they'd do; serious business here. And the United Nations is saying firm -- our Ambassador up there put it very well. And so we're watching and hoping they will fully comply.

Q. Does that mean that action is not imminent? That you are willing to give them time?

The President. I just would leave it where I stated it, Charles [Charles Bierbauer, Cable News Network].

Q. What did you think about Tariq `Aziz's appearance at the United Nations? Did he seem to be foot-dragging?

The President. Yes, bobbing and weaving.

House Bank Controversy

Q. How much do you think this check scandal's going to hurt the House? Do you think people should vote based on whether or not a Member bounced a bunch of checks?

The President. No, I think you've got to look at the whole situation. But people are outraged by it. And I think each individual case has to be viewed as to its content. But I'm waiting and watching it unfold. I think it's an institutional thing. I think people are very concerned, but I'm not jumping on any individual. I mean, I think everyone has his own case, his or her own case to make to their constituents or to the people.

Q. Will you support Congressman Gingrich's call for a special prosecutor?

The President. Well, I haven't even talked to our attorneys about that.

Illinois and Michigan Primaries

Q. What do you look for in Michigan and Illinois?

The President. Victory.

Q. What kind of victory? How big?

The President. No, no, no. Never try to say how high the high bar should be on these primaries. I haven't done it. I've been very pleased. They seem to be getting better and better. But I'm just -- keep working to try to, one, get the message out on the primaries, but two, try to address myself to the problems facing this country. And I am doing that. And I'm just going to keep on doing that.

Q. Are you going to offer any goodies to the people of Illinois and Wisconsin today, any Federal aid, Federal -- --

The President. Well, got a good program for them in terms of this economy. I just hope that they can use their influence with a recalcitrant Senate and House.

Well, welcome aboard. It's just a pleasure having you fellows here. It's a little long trip, but it will be a good one.

Presidential Medal of Freedom

Q. An early one tomorrow, too.

The President. What?

Q. An early one tomorrow.

The President. Look, I'm very much looking forward to that tomorrow. I have a very high regard for Sam Walton and what he's done and the way in which he's done it. And so to me, that one, I know some will say it's political. It is purely nonpolitical. It is to honor a great American. And that one I'm glad you asked about because I really feel viscerally and emotionally connected with tomorrow's visit.

Q. Don't you give them a speech there tomorrow?

The President. Down there?

Q. Yes.

The President. Well, I don't know. It depends on what they work out on the actual presentation.

Legislative Action

Q. What are your plans for March 20th, sir?

The President. I just hope the Congress does what I've asked. And it's not impossible. But it's -- they're coming along with a great big tax increase. And I just -- this one, I think, Tsongas is on to something. He says this is purely political. I think he's right about that, what the Senate and House appear to be doing.

Q. Would you look to veto one of those bills, or veto that bill this week?

The President. Oh yes, definitely will veto if it comes down close to what they did in the House.

Q. Do you think you'll get it this week though, sir?

The President. I don't know. I just don't know. Nobody seemed too sure of it when I left this morning.

I better get going.

Q. You don't really expect them to do it, do you?

The President. Don't expect it, but it would be nice, though, if they'd do something for the American people instead of raising taxes and spending the money.

Note: The exchange took place in the morning while the President was en route from Washington, DC, to Milwaukee, WI.

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