Press Briefing by Mary Ellen Glynn

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Spoken by

William J. Clinton

The Renaissance Hotel
St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

12:50 P.M. (L)

MS. GLYNN: Well, I guess you guys have probably already seen the pool report, so I don’t have a lot to add to it. The President and the First Lady and Chelsea are relaxing and enjoying themselves. They’re staying at — just a little bit of color — they’re staying at the home of Jay and Dollie Grebelick, at a house called the Sand Dollar Villa, which is on Megan’s Bay, which I’ve been told by several people was named by National Geographic as one of the 10 most beautiful bays in the world.

They’ve got a little private beach in front of their house, about 30 yards long, and there’s a swimming pool up on a deck. It’s one of these houses that’s up on a green, hilly area, and then a wooden staircase down to the beach. And it’s on a peninsula called Peterborg on the north side of the island.

And they are enjoying themselves. The President told me yesterday he’s got two books with him right now; one is called The Greening of the White House, which I understand is written by an Irish journalist. I think Connor O’Cleary. And it’s about the White House and the fact that it’s paid attention to Ireland and the Northern Irish problem for the first time in a long time and moved things along there. And the second book he’s reading is Father Andrew Greeley’s latest novel, which is about Chicago — an Irish-American guy from Chicago and an Irish woman. And as he put it yesterday, “it’s about two of my favorite places, Chicago and Ireland.” And I don’t have the name of it, I apologize, but it’s his very latest novel.

It’s kind of a — Andrew Greeley, Father Greeley writes mystery thriller type things. Nobody’s read any Andrew Greeley? Okay. Just everybody is looking kind of blank.

And also sociological works. I won’t go into the last one he did. I think that’s about it. What we did is we gave the pool a semi-lid. They are hanging around the beach and things here, because it looks like he’s just going to stay at his house for the day, but we want — what?

Q: No golf?

MS. GLYNN: Doesn’t look like he’s playing golf today, but we want everybody to kind of be on call in case he goes someplace. But after a long campaign and a long month of November and December where he went on a foreign trip and then picked his Cabinet and some of his top White House staff, and he’s going into a period where he’s going to be doing the Inauguration and then the State of the Union, plus some pretty intense budget talks, he’s going to take at least these three days to relax.

Q: Do you have any idea when any of the hearings are scheduled for the Cabinet nominees?

MS. GLYNN: No. The only one I heard about was Madeleine Albright. I think she is the 6th. That’s my understanding, but early next week. I haven’t heard about any others.

Somebody asked about next week’s schedule. Briefly, all I’ve got is on Monday, there’s an ecumenical breakfast. On Thursday there will be a —

Q: Is that at the White House?

MS. GLYNN: Yes, at the White House.

On Thursday there will be a National Medal of Arts and National Medal of Humanities Award. We’re actually going to put out a press release today with the names of those award winners, so you might want to translate — send those back to your Washington bureaus.

And I think next weekend there’s going to be a Cabinet retreat for the new members of the Cabinet and the old members of the Cabinet — I should say, the ongoing members of the Cabinet.

Q: That he’ll go on?

MS. GLYNN: Yes, that he will go on. We’re not sure where it’s going to be yet, but I think it will be the first chance for him to get them all together and talk about the next four years.

Q: — weekend?

MS. GLYNN: Next weekend.

Q: Will he do what he did the last time and have a facilitator there to kind of get people talking?

MS. GLYNN: That’s unclear.

Q: I know they did talk about bringing it up —

Q: Will it be a new age group?

MS. GLYNN: That is all under discussion.

Q: — likely be at Camp David or at some locale —

MS. GLYNN: Under discussion. Just so that you can think about that for next week, as you sail.

Q: Is some portion of that going to be open?

MS. GLYNN: It’s really — it’s very unclear. I’m just giving you this for guidance purposes so that you’d know what we’re doing.

Q: We have two major events in St. Croix this weekend. Do we have any word whether the President will be going to either one of them?

MS. GLYNN: We don’t at this point in time. Have not had any word on that.

Q: Is he aware of it?

MS. GLYNN: I think the Governor briefed him on them.

Q: Do you have any schedule for appearances anywhere in town yet?

MS. GLYNN: No schedule. Isn’t that wonderful?

Q: — just want to tell the locals.

MS. GLYNN: I’ll let you know. Just keep in touch with us and we’ll — as his schedule develops, we’ll let you know.

Q: Any plans to visit the nude beach? (Laughter.)

MS. GLYNN: No.

Q: It’s conveniently located.

MS. GLYNN: Now, now, now, that’s a bit of a misnomer, as my friend from the Island newspaper will tell you. Somebody had thought that it was right below him, and it is further, further down.

Q: It’s also not — as a local, it’s not a nude beach, it’s not official. And, in fact, there have been efforts to stop having it —

Q: Well, there were some officially nude people there. (Laughter.)

MS. GLYNN: Let’s not transcribe that. (Laughter.)

Q: What’s Chelsea doing?

MS. GLYNN: I don’t know. She doesn’t have a schedule. I think she’s enjoying being with her parents.

You know, what I meant to tell everybody, actually — the other day somebody asked me what the President’s New Year’s resolutions were, and I said I didn’t know of any. But then I read the transcript from his People Magazine interview and he said that one of his resolutions this year was to spend as much time as possible with Chelsea before she goes away to college next year. So I think this weekend they’ll do a lot of that, which is nice. It’s just the First Lady and Chelsea and him.

Q: Did he call anybody this morning?

MS. GLYNN: No. He had his daily national security briefing, so he’s updated and he’s in touch with the parties. Obviously, we’re keeping a pretty close eye on the Hebron negotiations. Dennis Ross expects to meet I think with Arafat again Thursday night, which is probably right now. So he’s keeping in touch with that closely and —

Q: Who’s here to give him a briefing?

MS. GLYNN: Joyce Harmon, who is the Director of the Sit Room. And Sandy Berger is fully engaged on that back in Washington.

Q: The pool report says no action expected on Hebron. I mean, what — where is that coming from?

MS. GLYNN: I’m not expecting a statement today, just because of the timing, it’s late.

Q: No action?

MS. GLYNN: I’m not expecting any sort of statement on it right now.

Q: That doesn’t necessarily mean no agreement expected, though? But I guess it is late there.

MS. GLYNN: I’ll leave that to the people in Israel to describe.

Wait, hang on — the social calendar, I forgot. Sue Hazard will kill me if I don’t get this out. The Stars and Stripes — and again, my local friends might help me on this one — but the people who own the Stars and Stripes now, which is the yacht that raced in the America’s Cup off beautiful, pristine San Diego, America’s finest city, is now here in the Virgin Islands. And they’re willing to let some of us take a ride on it. And there’s a sign-up sheet out there. It’s sort of limited to six people per time.

The Governor is throwing a press party tomorrow night; details to be determined. I don’t know when or where. There is a trip to St. Croix that you can sign up for tomorrow from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. And last, at the Ritz-Carlton next door you can sign up for snorkeling and trips to St. John.

I think that’s it.

Q: The St. Croix corresponds with the festival?

MS. GLYNN: Does it?

Q: Is that to the festival specifically? It corresponds in time and date with the festival. Do we know —

MS. GLYNN: It may well do that. Details — ask Sue Hazard for details. She has them.

Q: Is the President going on the Stars and Stripes?

MS. GLYNN: I don’t know. I’ll let you know.

Q: It’s owned by Virgin Island America’s Cup Challenge Foundation, Inc.

MS. GLYNN: Okay. Go enjoy yourselves.

Q: So what’s the lid situation?

MS. GLYNN: The lid situation is semi-lid.

THE PRESS: Thank you.

END 1:00 P.M. (L)