Anatoly O. 04.21.2001
Our correspondent Bull Press interviewed President G. W. Bush. They discussed how well the President has done in his first 100 days.
Bull Press: President Bush, welcome. I am delighted to be with you. Now, first of all, I want to make a couple points before I ask you my first question, just so everyone understands and so you understand. The first point is that looking back at the last five years down in Austin, Texas, what a mess you left there. Republicans and Democrats in the Texas legislature are taking steps to clean up the mess you left. They are raising taxes, passing tougher environmental laws, overturning the Medicaid laws to allow more poor kids to get health care.
Pres. Bush: What I've done in Texas…
Bull Press: Wait. Let me ask you first, the basic question, was it a mistake to declare war on the environment in the first 100 days?
Pres. Bush: PCBs, DDT, and the other toxic chemicals are linked to developmental defects, cancer, and other grave problems in humans and animals. The risks are great, and the need for action is clear. We must work to eliminate, or at least to severely restrict the release of these toxins without delay.
Bull Press: Wait. What about this thing, what about – you rolled back protections against arsenic in drinking water and salmonella in school lunches. You are trying to allow oil drilling in Alaska's Natural Wildlife Refuge and even in our national parks. How do you explain that? Payback to big business, isn't it?
Pres. Bush: There are the possibilities for cooperation among all parties to our environmental debates. Businesses cooperated with environmental groups. A Republican administration will cooperate with Democrats.
Bull Press: Self-interest prevails, as always, politics and so many other things. Now, I want to ask you about your tax cut proposal. An American working at the minimum wage 52 weeks a year, 40 hours a week, earns per year what you earn in a week. Can you look me in eyes and say that your tax cut will help working Americans?
Pres. Bush: In the first 100 days, we got one bill out of the House at $1.6 trillion and one out of the Senate at $1.2, so at least the parameters have been defined. I think we're going to get meaningful tax relief.
Bull Press: Sir, I am just curious, -- here are you, who ran an oil company, Dick Cheney ran an oil company, made immense profits doing so. I ask you, don't you think that Dick Cheney ought to say, when it comes to any policy regarding oil companies, I refuse myself from that decision-making?
Pres. Bush: No…
Bull Press: Now Sir, let's be frank. The Summit of the Americas in Quebec City was a complete failure.
Pres. Bush: I'm very optimistic about what took place there. It gives us a great chance to expand the opportunities around our hemisphere, knowing that it will help our own country. I've always believed that it's -- the best foreign policy is one that improves your own neighborhood first. And so when I say a priority of ours is this hemisphere, it's not idle chit-chat. It's reality, as witnessed by the fact that my first summit was a summit with leaders from our own neighborhood.
Bull Press: All right. All right. Let me tell you quickly, here's my real -- here's my biggest problem with your foreign policy: You said that if Taiwan's ever threatened, the United States will do whatever it takes to defend it, which basically means all-out war to protect Taiwan. That has never been said by an American president before. It was said without any consultation with members the Armed Services Committee, the Intelligence Committee, or the foreign policy committees in the Senate or in the House.
Pres. Bush: I have said that I will do what it takes to help Taiwan defend herself, and the Chinese must understand that. Secondly, I certainly hope Taiwan adheres to the one-China policy.
Bull Press: I have to leave it there because of your time. I'll hope you'll join me again as we get beyond the 180-day mark.