Last edited: February 02, 2005


White House Press Briefing

White House, April 25, 2003
Press Briefing (excerpt)

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Q: And second question, piggy-backing off of what Terry was asking. President Bush denounced what Trent Lott said. Why not denounce what Santorum has said?

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, because I think the President views this exactly as Iíve indicated all week, that there is a legal matter pending before the Supreme Court, and that different individuals are going to offer legal theories about this matter. And that puts it in a different category.

Q: But Ari, on January 15th, Dr. Kingís birthday, the President delivered an amicus brief for the University of Michigan, saying he was against their points policy for admission. Why not get involved in this situation?

MR. FLEISCHER: Actually, because the matters are not analogous. One involved federal programs, admissions, that the federal government is directly involved in. This is a matter clearly applying to a state law.

Q: Does he denounce Santorumís comments, though?

MR. FLEISCHER: The President views it exactly as Iíve indicated. This is a question of a legal matter before the courts. And different people have different legal theories.

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Q: Thank you. My next question, youíve declined to comment on Santorumís statements that the Senator says were misconstrued. Some have suggested that the real story here is that the Associated Press reporter conducting the interview is the wife of John Kerryís campaign manager. How would you respond to that?

MR. FLEISCHER: Iím not going to respond to that. Iím aware of those reports and I donít know how to evaluate them.

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Q: Ari, both Senator Frist and Senator Specter have publicly supported Senator Santorum. And my question: Does the President believe they were wrong to do so, because while governor of Texas he ever tried to get that stateís sodomy law repealed?

MR. FLEISCHER: As I said this morning, Lester, the President has confidence in Senator Santorum, both as a senator, as a member of the Senate leadership. Jesus.

Q: Wait a minute, I have one follow-up.

MR. FLEISCHER: Go ahead.

Q: The Culture and Family Institute -

MR. FLEISCHER: But calm down. (Laughter.)

Q: I will. Thank you. The Culture and Family Institute estimates that 30 to 40 percent of Americans are evangelical Christians, and these, plus loyal Catholics and conservative and orthodox Jews comprise a large portion of the Republican base, which so narrowly elected [sic] the President. Robert Knight of this institute says that the Presidentís refusal to support Senator Santorum, ďlooks like a suicide move.Ē Is your statement just now a refutation, in that he is supporting -

MR. FLEISCHER: I canít refute something that was asked me after I made my statement. I made my statement, and I would just say this, when it comes to faith -

Q: So he does support Santorum.

MR. FLEISCHER: No, no, no, I want to say thisóyou raised a question whose premise deals with faith. Faith is an important part of life for many Americans, regardless of their party, regardless how one party or another has different people of different faiths. Itís one of the things that makes America one country, regardless of what party people fall into. And the reaction I gave is based on the Presidentís views as a governmental matter, and thatís he approaches it.

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