THE WHITE HOUSE
the Press Secretary
PRESS BRIEFING BY
8:50 P.M. EDT
There was a pool inside of -- both an American and Russian pool, that saw them
walk in. They walked in, they smiled, they shook hands, and turned. Nobody
asked a question. They didn't offer anything up. They're having dinner now in a
room that I guess is part of the personal quarters that's built in to the
Kremlin, where President Putin lives.
Q -- name of the building?
Q One of the Russians just said he doesn't actually live here, I mean,
doesn't sleep here, like at the White House.
MR. LOCKHART: Right, but
he's got sort of a personal quarters there and that's where -- yes.
It's called the President's residence.
MR. LOCKHART: President's
residence. The dinner the President, Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott,
President Putin, and then Sergey Prihodkho, who is the Foreign Affairs Advisor
to the President. He's got another gentleman who is the National Security
Advisor, and then a Foreign Minister.
Q But it's just those four --
MR. LOCKHART: Plus two interpreters. They're dining on -- this is not
the whole list, but this is what I got out of our guys -- chicken consomme,
trout, and goose with berry sauce.
Now, the plan for the rest of the
evening is I'll either get something midstream from Strobe, or I'll get Strobe
to come over here, or worse case scenario, I won't get him at all and I'll get
him when we get back to the hotel, he'll come to the pool hold. So if you
haven't seen me or him, for whatever reason, when we get back to the hotel, go
to the hold and a senior administration official will give you a readout on the
Q Is the President going out further tonight after this?
MR. LOCKHART: No. They may do some -- there may be some entertainment
at the end of the night, which will extend the evening a bit --
we'll be brought in for?
MR. LOCKHART: No, but the good news is, if
they do that, I'll grab Strobe and --
Q Is there a point at which the
other people who are having the second dinner, like Albright, will join?
MR. LOCKHART: Yes, if they do do this entertainment, which is sort of
optional, they'll all come together and watch it together.
Q Are they
going to actually discuss the issues, or this going to be mostly social?
MR. LOCKHART: We'll see what Strobe comes out with. I don't know. I
can't imagine that there won't be some substantive discussion, but I can't
Q What kind of entertainment?
MR. LOCKHART: It's
jazz. If we do this entertainment, by the way, this is the program.
When do they start, do you know exactly or roughly?
MR. LOCKHART: They
started literally -- they went straight up, so five minutes after they got here
they went in.
Q So we arrived at around 8:15 p.m. --
LOCKHART: Ralph, do you know, when you went in to take the picture, they went
straight into dinner, right? Literally, they walked to the elevator, and I lost
them because just the two of them got in the elevator and Strobe went up.
Q So this would be a second floor room or --
Dining room, third floor -- and the other dinner that's going on is going on on
the same floor, but it's a huge building. It's down sort of at the other end.
Q And the other dinner is Madeleine Albright --
It's Madeleine, Sandy, Podesta, Sperling, maybe one other.
Q I thought
it was four and four.
Q So, and their counterparts.
LOCKHART: Yes. If you're really interested, Christine can -- you can call the
NSC and get who is on the other side. If you really care, just let her know.
Q They're just eating, they're not talking any substantive --
MR. LOCKHART: They're eating, and again, I can't imagine -- I don't
know that the -- "Pacers' luck, you won over the Knicks" will come up, so
Q In this case, how would you describe the dinner? It's
sort of like -- there's substance, but it's also getting to know each other?
MR. LOCKHART: I think it's a chance to, before they have -- tomorrow
they've got working sessions throughout the day. Tonight is a chance, I think,
to get comfortable and discuss a wide range of issues, including the
substantive issues could come up. But I think it's more of a social --
Q Did Putin show them around the room, or they just sit right down --
MR. LOCKHART: I wasn't in the room. I literally couldn't get near it.
So you can get all that from Strobe.
Q There's some confusion over what
Putin was exactly talking about in his NBC interview when he talked about joint
construction of some kind of a defense, whether it would shoot down missiles on
the way up. Is the administration familiar with what it is that he's proposing
MR. LOCKHART: We're looking forward to hearing in the
conversations tomorrow about security what he has in mind, and I'm not going to
try to prejudge it tonight based on an interview.
Okay? So I'll get him
over here as soon as I can. Again, he may slip me a note, and if he does I'll
try to deceiver it and I'll just read it to you.
Q Just for newspapers,
Sunday deadlines mean people are anxious to get as much as they can.
MR. LOCKHART: Yes. Okay.
END 8:57 P.M. (L)