For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
August 25, 2001
President Gives Tour of Crawford Ranch
Remarks by the President During Tour of the President's Ranch
Prarie Chapel Ranch
11:05 A.M. CDT
Q Shouldn't you be
doing that with an axe?
THE PRESIDENT: I've got my
Q Oh, lucky.
THE PRESIDENT: What?
Q I was just
asking, shouldn't you be doing that with an axe?
THE PRESIDENT: No, that was
Q My mistake.
THE PRESIDENT: I'll tell you
what we ought to do. What we're doing is, we're cleaning
this out. We're making a trail from the top to come down,
over here. Do you all want to walk in here? It's
kind of neat in here. These cliffs are pretty unusual, from
this perspective. And then -- this is a very long
canyon. I'll take you down, if you want to see where the
mouth of the canyon is, and the trail was cut up in
here. And then I've got another canyon, right next door, if
you'd like to see that, that we've improved. It will give
you a flavor for the ranch.
But what we're trying to do is to make
these really beautiful cutouts available for anybody who wants to walk
up in here. I think you'll see that we make them pretty
accessible without disturbing the natural beauty of the place.
If you want the details, that was a dead
hackberry. H-a-c-k -- (Laughter.)
Q He's writing it
THE PRESIDENT: Anyway, what
will happen is, is that when the rainy season comes, this all gets damp
in here, we'll fire up this pile of leaves and stuff, and burn
it. This canyon -- you can see, behind you, all the
erosion. This gets a lot of water coming through
here. There's seven of these on the ranch, and when it
rains, these all flow down toward the bottoms. Eventually,
in this case, these canyons feed into the middle fork of the Bosque
River. The guy from A&M; we had out here, he spotted about 17
or 18 different variety of hardwood down below.
So what do you want to do?
Q Come down.
THE PRESIDENT: Come on down
here, or do you want to start from the bottom and walk
up? We'll start from the bottom and walk up. I've
got room for five people. We'll get the scribblers, AP and
Q Thank you.
* * * * *
THE PRESIDENT: -- just use the
cedar that we cut. Used a crowbar to dig the
hole. We'll put another one below, and then make sure the
steps are -- I've got a little more work -- do you see those two --
those are dead right there. Those are ash. Do you
see the two trees there, the dead trees? I'll cut them out.
And so basically, what we've been doing in
here, is we've been cutting out the dead trees, the trees that have
fallen down. And some undergrowth, just to open it up, so
that when you sit out here for a picnic, you've got a pretty good view
of this beautiful canyon.
Q Are you trying to
make a hiking trail for people to use?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
Q Now would the
doctor and the nurse both normally be here, or is it the chainsaw that
brought them out?
THE PRESIDENT: No, they're with
me -- like when I ran this morning, they were here. They go
everywhere I go on the ranch.
Q Not that they
don't trust you with a chainsaw, huh?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, they don't
trust me with my running, either. (Laughter.)
Q Won't the rain
erode the trail? How do you stop that?
THE PRESIDENT: Pardon me?
Q The rain, won't
the water erode the trail? Do you have to keep redoing it?
THE PRESIDENT: No, actually
we're not going to put it on the creek bottom. You'll see,
there's a series of flats, as you come up the canyon. The canyon is
not uniformly steep. And so there will be -- one side of the
canyon will be steep, and the other side will be relatively
flat. We've cut out a trail, mainly
cedars. Cedars are a -- you know, some of the big stands of
cedars are important, because they become nesting materials for things
like the golden cheek warbler, although we don't have any on this
On the other hand, the little cedars, they
crowd up on these beautiful hardwood, and they soak in a lot of
water. I mean, they take 30 percent of the water, more or
less, that is taken in by these trees, are taken in by
cedar. And cedar is just a plague of a lot of places around
Q What did you mean
when you said you burn it?
THE PRESIDENT: It means, we
take a match --
Q I know that, but
isn't there a risk of spreading fire?
THE PRESIDENT: No, in the rainy
season, the wet season.
Q In the rainy
season, I see.
THE PRESIDENT: Right now you
can't burn because there's a burn ban. And obviously, we'll honor the
* * * * *
THE PRESIDENT: The thing about
this -- this is kind of a transition zone. And see how close
the rock is to the surface here? This is basement
rock. And as you come from the southwest part of the ranch,
where you come in, this way, the soil obviously thins. And
so it goes from pretty good hay country and crop country -- there's a
corn field right next to our neighbor's pasture. The
property is only good for grazing, and it's pretty thin at
that. But because the rock is so close to the surface, it
enabled -- there was a series of eroding activities that caused these
canyons. And there's about three and a half miles of
lowland. You drop off about 90 foot from here down to where
And so it's a whole other world that you
-- the closest thing you can tell about this ranch, when you drive in
here is -- you know that dip when you're coming in what they call Bluff
Creek? Have you seen the cliffs --
Q When you bought
this property, and you saw that land, did you decide that you wanted to
turn those all into hiking trails?
THE PRESIDENT: Oh
yes. Look, this place has got so much variety on it, and it
is a unique piece of property for Texas. You'll see the
trees down here. They're really big and magnificent
trees. I mean, I fell in love with it the minute I saw
it. But I also knew I was going to have to -- get to do a
lot of work, not have to. I really like this. I
like being out here. I like spending a lot of time outside.
Q Have you been
doing this every day, working on this trail?
THE PRESIDENT: No, not every
day. Like I didn't yesterday. The military folks
didn't leave until about 5:00 p.m. yesterday.
Q You could have
handed them a chainsaw, and asked them to help.
PRESIDENT: Exactly. Let me take you up to this
one finished product first. I think you'll find this
Q How far away from
THE PRESIDENT: We're about a
mile -- this is the -- not necessarily as the crow flies, but this is
the three mile marker on a rut of mine, right up here. But I
-- you had to have gone in kind of a --
Q Meander around?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, meander
around a little bit.
This is the beginning of a very long
pasture that -- I say long. It's two-thirds of a
mile. But just to give you a feel for it. These
cedar elms, interspersed with pecan and different types of
oaks. You see the size of the cedar elms up
there? And you can see that the pasture's been well
maintained over time, and it goes for a long way. I think
this is a --
Q So do you have
livestock grazing out here?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, we do, sure
do. I don't own it, but the guy -- Ken Engelbrecht
does. This is a burr oak -- this is a very rare -- not rare,
it's just a beautiful oak tree, this thing right here, and it produces
these magnificent burrs. This is a live oak here.
Q So the
horticulturist has already been out here?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, we had a --
Thursday. Two guys from A&M; came out, and we had a really
good visit. By the way, there was another pasture beyond
there, that really is pretty.
This is what we call the
cathedral. This is where -- hey, look, average
Q What do you
THE PRESIDENT: I'm interested
in these trees. This place you learn to fall in love with
* * * * *
THE PRESIDENT: I tell you --
this is the area we call the cathedral. The only thing I suggest, the
camera dogs, look for three leaved plants, and avoid them.
Q Poison ivy?
THE PRESIDENT: It's called
poison ivy. So I'd finished a long run one
day. It was pretty wet, and I started walking
up. And I heard this trickle, sound of running
water. And it turns out this is a waterfall when it
rains. And it pools -- the water pools right -- you're
welcome to walk up there.
Anyway, be careful of poison ivy, if you
have shorts on.
Q What about
THE PRESIDENT: You're okay for
snakes. Avoid this plant right here. Like you.
Q I'm not
THE PRESIDENT: You're
not? Then you're in good shape.
Where are my writers? Oh, there
Q We got run over.
THE PRESIDENT: You can come in
Anyway, this fills up with water when it's
raining. So this comes over here, trickles there, fills up
water, so you've got a nice little pool. Eventually it fills
up, and it starts moving down and it makes a nice little
stream. I've seen fox in here, I've seen all kinds of
birds. It's a wonderful spot to come up in here and just kind of think
about the budget. (Laughter.) I mean --
Q I thought you'd
rather think about that with the chainsaw.
THE PRESIDENT: That's exactly
right. Very good, Patsy. I wish I'd thought of
There are seven canyons like
this. You've seen two of them. This obviously is
a more shallow canyon, but it's very dramatic when you get to the
end. And then the one that you were seeing there, it's a
wonderful picnic spot, because it's got a natural amphitheater to
it. Then if you'd like, I can walk you up, to just give you
a feel for what one of these long canyons is like. We've cut
a little trail up in there. The walking's a little
difficult, because we haven't had a chance to burn the piles that we've
This is an amazing place in here.
Q So what do you
do? You come out here, and --
THE PRESIDENT: I've come out
here -- you know, I come out here some. And you know, you don't want
to get out here from about right now until about 4 p.m., because --
Q It's so hot,
THE PRESIDENT: It's like an
Q So in the
morning, you'll get up.
THE PRESIDENT: We'll get up
early. Today the sunrise was magnificent.
Q So you'll come
and watch the sunrise?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we walked
-- actually this morning I ran three-and-a-half miles, and
walked. And then Laura and Condi Rice and two of our house
guests, they walked four-and-a-half-miles. It was just
magnificent. Started about 7 a.m. this morning.
I'll work out here until around
noon. We've got three couples as house
guests. Beth, the barber from Austin, is coming
out. She'll want to see this place. So I'll give
her a tour. I want to look good for the Little League World
Series tomorrow. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Q Oh, that's
Q What were your
THE PRESIDENT: You know, I'd
better not give them to you, because somebody will dig them out and
find that it wasn't accurate. I was a pretty good
player. I was a catcher, on the Cubs, the Midland
Cubs. As I said, I peaked in Little League.
Q Were you Hall of
THE PRESIDENT: Little
League? Well, I qualified by the fact that I was the first
President ever to play Little League baseball. I think
that's -- you know, first guy to hit 60 home runs, first guy to
actually put the uniform on. What the
heck? What's the difference?
* * * * *
Q So how many hours
a day are you out here?
THE PRESIDENT: About
three. But I've had the full day already. I got
up at 5:45 a.m., read all the stuff I needed to read, and then took off
at about 7 a.m. with a little run, got back to the house about 7:45
a.m. and we had a CIA briefing for an hour, and a national security
briefing. Both of them took an hour. Then we came down here
and started working. And this will be it. Probably finish
about 12:15 p.m. or so.
Q So you're so in
your element here. Are you dreading going back to
PRESIDENT: No. Life is a series of
contrasts. And I like it here a lot, I really
do. And I am in my element here. We really like
it. But I also like -- I wouldn't have run for President if I didn't
like the challenge and the give and take and the sense of
accomplishment. Plus, we like living in the White
House. It's a nice place to live, as they say in Crawford.
Q I know, but I
think when people see you out here, who haven't been to the ranch
before -- a lot of us haven't -- now we sort of get it.
THE PRESIDENT: Get a feel for
Q I mean, get why
you guys come down here so much.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, it's our
home, and we love it here. You know, I'll come
back. Vladimir Putin's coming out here, so I'll be back
relatively quickly. I've got a lot of work to do in
Washington. I'm looking forward to going
back. I've just got a lot to do. As a matter of
fact, I'll be at my desk on Friday, presuming they've got the White
House -- the Oval Office refurbish completed.
* * * * *
Q Now, do you go
hunting on the ranch?
THE PRESIDENT: I
don't. I don't hunt deer. But I do hunt dove, and
I have hunted dove. We don't have any quail. And
I don't want to shoot the turkeys. I like
turkeys. But we let people come and thin out the
deer. A ranch can overpopulate with deer. All
right, we're moving.
This is the mouth of the canyon, where you
all were, up top.
* * * * *
THE PRESIDENT: We're trying to
keep people out of the river bed -- out of the creek bed, so if there's
water here, there's a trail. And where it gets -- where the
crossings are relatively deep, we'll build a kind of bridge.
Anyway, you can kind of get a
feel. These little cleared out areas now, they'll be full of
windflowers in the spring. And the greens will come
out. This place was emerald green in the
spring. I mean, it's hard to envision, and you probably
think I'm exaggerating, but we had enough rain to really green this
place up. It was spectacular.
And these canyons will be full of
flowers. And some of these trees are flowering
trees. The whole purpose is to make it
accessible. What we just walked across would not have been
accessible, unless you wanted to cut your arms up on the brambles, that
are -- like these things. There's a bunch of them around
here that --
So the idea is to smooth it
out. Cut it out first, like we've done, and then burn
it. And then we'll come out here and where it's needed,
we'll kind of try to smooth it up. Probably drive some
Gators up in there, which are these John Deere Jeep looking things, to
try to make the path easier. But even though it's hot, at
least you're not having to cut through a bunch of brush to get up in
here. Anyway, we can keep going, if you like.
Q How long did it
take you to clear this whole area out?
THE PRESIDENT: It took us about
five days. We're not through yet, either. See
these things? These are the things you've got to be real
careful about. And we need to get rid of
those. They make it hard for people to --
You can see, like in here, these were all
cedar, young cedars. Not only do they take the water away
from these trees, but they made it impossible -- and these thorns grow
up in them, and so it makes it kind of jungly.
This area here -- we're going to drive up
in here, be able to drive these things up here. We'll clear
it out and probably build a little bridge across here, big enough for a
John Deere Gator.
We can keep going if you
want. I mean, we've got a little ways to go. This will give
you a feel for what it's like. It's up to you all.
Q Yes, we'd like
THE PRESIDENT: Good with me.
THE PRESIDENT: The other thing
is in the winter, a lot of times of the year, winter and early spring,
you can imagine this is beautiful. And see these cliffs in
here? So this is like you're in a bowl. This side
is a little more gentle. This side's a little more steep,
here. The base of the cliff -- the cliffs are really,
beautiful, aren't they?
These are where the Indians came
up. They would come up, the Tonkawa Indians would bring
their horses up the middle fork of the Bosque, -- and they would run
them up a canyon like this. And you can see where we were,
at the end of the canyon. And it's a pretty sheltered
area. If there's any water, there would be pools of water in
But this is where they supposedly ran
Q And this will all
be a running creek in the spring?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, when it
rains. It's beautiful.
Q When do you
expect -- I mean, what months does is start filling up?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we don't
know. I'll drive you out of here and show you one other part
of the ranch. We've got a mile and a half of Rainey
Creek. It's a much bigger creek. It's still got
some pools of water in there.
* * * * *
THE PRESIDENT: All right, this
is -- see where we are?
Q Is this coming up
on the cathedral, on another angle?
THE PRESIDENT: That's where you
all were standing, up top.
Q Oh, the first
PRESIDENT: Yes. This is fairly typical of what
this place could look like, if we didn't make it easier to -- we cut
some of this out, and we already stacked it. But that's
where you all were standing, up there.
And the idea is to be able to walk up from
the bottom or get down from the top. It's a beautiful --
area. But this is also to make it easy for people to walk
through here, it's kind of fun, I figure, a place for people -- if they
want to get lost up here, they're welcome to do so. And I
want these canyons to be accessible. There are a few others
-- one of them's really hard to get to. I hiked up in
there. I mean, it's really hard to get up in
there. And I don't know if we can ever make that one really
The other one will be accessible only if
we get in there with a chainsaw and spend a lot of time, because it's
really overgrown. So we may leave one the way it is and make
the other one --
Q Are you able to
hike around here on your own, totally on your own?
THE PRESIDENT: No. I
hike around up here. As you know, the --
THE PRESIDENT: Plus, the
military aide is within a certain distance of me at all times.
Q So even on your
own property, you can't get lost?
PRESIDENT: Right. They stay -- the military aide,
the doc and the nurse live on the property. And fortunately,
they're such fine Americans, I don't mind hiking with them.
Q How do they feel
THE PRESIDENT: That's something
you need to ask them. That's a good question.
Q What is it you
like about coming out here?
THE PRESIDENT: I like -- I
mean, it is one of the few places where I can actually walk outside my
front door and say, I think I'm going to go walk two
hours. And although I'm not totally alone, I can walk
wherever I want to walk. And I can't do that in Washington.
I guess I could, I could walk around the
circle for -- I do run the circle. I like that. I
love the nature. I love to get in the pickup truck with my
dogs as the sun is setting, go look for game.
Q You're a pretty
gregarious guy. I've seen you at many a ballgame.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
Q Some of your
friends are surprised that you like to come out here basically in the
middle of nowhere and just kind of be by yourself.
THE PRESIDENT: I guess they
don't know what it's like to be the
President. (Laughter.) I get plenty of quality
time with a lot of really good people. Sometimes, it's
important to just get away as well.
Plus, you know, one of the things we miss
in Washington is our friends. And they're
here. We've got the Weisses here, the Gannons are here, Pam
Nelson is here. And we find it really relaxing to sit down
on the porch with our buddies and just shoot the
breeze. And, you know, it's amazing. You don't
have to defend any policy you make. I mean, your friends are
your friends. These people were friends of mine before I
became President, they'll be friends of mine after I'm the
President. And people just take you for what you are.
Q Do you do your
own cooking here at the ranch?
THE PRESIDENT: Do I?
THE PRESIDENT: I try not
to. (Laughter.) I get really hungry after a day's
work. Occasionally, I'll cook a burger or a steak. I'm not
bad at it.
Q Otherwise, Mrs.
Bush takes care of that?
THE PRESIDENT: Actually, we've
got Sam, a fine cook. And that's one of the benefits of
being the President, the cook comes with you. (Laughter.)
Q Noticed a lot of
animal droppings. Can you identify them?
THE PRESIDENT: Well,
no. I can't. Good question, though.
Q I'm a Brooklyn
boy, and I don't --
THE PRESIDENT: I'm better on
trees than I am on animal droppings. And I still need a lot of work on
trees. I think this is a cedar elm. Cedar elms are
identified by their skirts. Obviously, when they grow up in
a sunlight-starved environment, the skirt doesn't grow.
But it's pretty special. You
know, the thing about this place is that you would never guess that
this kind of country was here driving in from Waco to
Crawford. And the -- this is really a finger of the Hill
Country coming up in here.
And you've got the hay country, the black
land prairie and you've got a transition zone. Really, a lot
of live oaks and stuff. And then you come down into these
canyons. And the middle fork of the Bosque runs a
mile-and-a-half on our eastern boundary and Rainey Creek is a
mile-and-a-half on the northern boundary. And they are
really great when there's water in them. They're even great
when there's no water in them. They're good for game, holding
game. The game like to go down in the bottoms there and
they'll drink and hang out and hide.
As I say, the other day, I came down here
and Barney and I were -- Barney's legs are so short, a half-mile run
for him is pretty much like five miles for a human. He makes
it about a quarter-mile or so, then they put him in the Gator and he
and I walk as he cools down. Thirty turkey came sprinting
across the pasture down there and Barney took off after them.
Barney's big thing to do is to chase
armadillo. And, you know, Laura has mulched our flower beds
around the house and we water in the evening, so therefore the soil is
very moist and armadillo love to dig the soil looking for
bugs. And so I went out there the other day, and there was
Barney buried in this hole, chasing an
armadillo. (Laughter.) Both of them were in this
hole. At any rate, Barney -- finally got him out of there
and the armadillo wouldn't move.
Q Seems like Spot
would be the more outdoorsey-type dog.
THE PRESIDENT: Spot's a good
runner. You know, Barney -- terriers are bred to go into
holes and pull out varment. And Spotty chases birds.
Spotty's a great water dog. I'll go fly fishing this
afternoon in our lake -- I don't know if you saw the lake coming
It's -- we sprung a leak in the dam and a
guy from East Texas came over and spent the last four-and-a-half days
coring out the dam, putting clay in there and filling it back
in. I think we've solved the leak.
But I'll go fishing and Spot will be out
in the middle of the lake, either chasing the lure or chasing a
grasshopper or chasing something. She loves the
water. But she -- you know, for a 12-year-old dog, she's in
incredible condition. But she -- about every other day,
she'll run with me. And if she doesn't run with me, she'll
either -- she'll walk with Laura and me.
So she's doing great. And she's
a hunter. She's just having trouble seeing. She
doesn't see as well as Barney does now.
Q So when they're
at the White House, where do they run around? I mean,
THE PRESIDENT: They run around
the yard there. About 6:50 a.m. in the morning to 7:00 a.m.,
as I take them down, we'll walk around some and then Dale, the fine
gardener, will come out. And Dale and the dogs are in
love. And they will spend the day with Dale. And
he'll hit the tennis ball to them or he'll walk around on the grounds
and they'll run around. And then when it gets a little hot, they'll
camp out in the gardener's office and then when I finish work or when
Laura is ready, we'll go down and get them and bring them up to the
Q Do you still have
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
Q Does anyone ride
THE PRESIDENT: No, they're too
small yet. But we do have them. They're Kenneth
Let's see what else I can tell you about
this place --
Q What's the
average annual rainfall?
THE PRESIDENT: I think it's 32
inches, but you need to look it up on the Internet.
Q Is this summer
PRESIDENT: No. We got a
half-inch. August is always dry. I mean, unless
there's a hurricane, August is a dry month in Texas. And
it's always hot; it's never not been hot. And Dallas -- I
don't know, Jackson, you living in Dallas? It was some like
ungodly number of days in a row of 100 -- 50 days in a row or
This has been a relatively mild
summer. But it had been really dry up until the last three
years -- last year. For three years prior to last year was
really dry and we didn't have any rain. And we had great
rains this year. And the aquifers filled up and it was
seeping water all the time and the creek was running up until
July. So it's --
Q When are you
coming back after --
THE PRESIDENT: I don't
know. I think we may have a scheduled trip in
September. I'm giving a speech in San Antonio, if I'm not
mistaken. And that will be just for a night. And
I'm thinking about -- I haven't decided when to hang my portrait in the
state capitol, but it's finished. Or it's almost
finished. One of the -- the artist came out the other day
just to get one final look. (Laughter.) But I'm
not sure how much time we'll spend then. And then Mr.
October is going to be taken up mainly
with dealing with the Congress and going on the Far Eastern trip, about
a 10-day trip.
Q And then will you
spend December, you know, around Christmas --
THE PRESIDENT: No, we'll spend
-- look, the plans are right now, subject to change, that I would like
to invite my entire family to Camp David, my mother and dad and
brothers and sister and their kids. And then the day after,
we'd fly down here and spend --
Q For Christmas --
at Camp David?
THE PRESIDENT: No, no, the day
-- yes, Christmas at Camp David and then leave that day or the day
after and come down here. And stay down here until -- I
don't know however long -- whatever's appropriate.
Q Sir, I don't want
to be rude, but what does a ranch like this go for?
THE PRESIDENT: You know, first
of all, it's not for sale. You couldn't pay me enough.
Q I believe that.
THE PRESIDENT: Other than that,
that's relatively rude.
Q I apologize.
THE PRESIDENT: No, no.
Q Are you going to
-- are you going to bring Mr. Putin up through the canyons?
THE PRESIDENT: I'd like
to. If he wants to, you bet. He is a physical
fitness person and I bet he'd like to get up and go for a long walk.
Q He's probably
seen nothing like it.
THE PRESIDENT: I'd love to show
him the canyons. I will show him the canyons. And
I think he'll like it out here. It will be a different
look. The leaves -- you get some colors down here. Some of
the leaves --
Q In the fall?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, you
do. Nothing like New England, but you do get some colors.
Q Do you know when
he's coming, exactly?
THE PRESIDENT: No, I
don't. I'm not even sure, yet.
Q You've done some
work out here --
THE PRESIDENT: I think he'd
like to spend some time in Washington and do both, go to Washington and
Q You've done some
work out of here. Has it been more difficult to work out of
here or --
THE PRESIDENT: No, it's just
the same. You know, when you pick up the phone and you call
de la Rua to talk to him about Argentina, it's -- it may be a different
hookup, but it's the same voice.
Yesterday -- as a matter of fact, in some
ways, this place is better for work. Yesterday, we spent --
well, they arrived at 10:00 a.m. It took a while to get the
press conference. We got back here at about 11:30 a.m. and
met until 5:15 p.m. I think they left. That's the
longest meeting I've had in a long time, on a very important
subject. And so it gave us a chance to sit back and
relax. It was a much less hectic schedule.
Therefore, we had a good chance to talk
about a really important subject, which is our military
strategies. And so in some ways, it lets -- this place
allows for more in-depth discussions. Condi and I spend a
lot of time just sitting around visiting about our foreign policy
You know, Andy Card and I talked for a
while yesterday. Josh is around. Karen Hughes was
here. We spent a good deal of time with Karen talking about
the fall and what we'll try to communicate in the fall.
I had a good visit with Vicente Fox on the
phone. You know, we're working on immigration
policy. And although I haven't been in the meetings, I have
been in communications with Margaret LaMontagne is heading up that task
for us. And I think we'll make some pretty good progress
Q When you have
those business meetings, like the Joint Chiefs briefing, do you like to
keep it separate from the living quarters on the ranch?
THE PRESIDENT: Actually, you
know, what we call the governor's house, the place where you all came
out during the -- that's where we went. Condi and Karen
Hughes stayed there. And right across the street from that
is a -- it's a nice looking government
doublewide. (Laughter.) And that's where the mil
aide, the nurse, the WHCA head, the doc, they stay.
The CIA briefings, I have on our porch,
the end of our porch looking out over the lake. When Tenet
came up, that's where we visited, out there.
You know, everybody wants to see the
ranch, which I'm proud to show it off. So George Tenet and I
-- yesterday, we piled in the new nominees for the Chairman of the
Joint Chiefs, the Vice Chairman and their wives and went right up the
Q They didn't do
this hiking in those uniforms?
THE PRESIDENT: No, no, they
didn't come up here. It was a quick tour.
Q The Marine would,
THE PRESIDENT: But for large
meetings and, you know, plus Laura had some guests and didn't want us
traipsing around there. So it was a good idea to invite the
wives. Laura thought of it. And I'm really glad
she did. It was obviously a very sensitive decision on her
part. They were thrilled to be here. As you can
imagine, their husbands were nominated to be Chairman and Vice Chairman
of the Joint Chiefs and they got to witness it. And, had she
not caught it, they might not have been here. So it's good
that she did.
Q So when you go
back, you're going to be immersed in all this budget
stuff. Are you ready for this fight?
PRESIDENT: Sure. I don't necessarily see it as a
Q Well, you drew a
pretty strong line in the sand yesterday.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we've got
a budget, see. The budget's been decided. So
we're not fighting over the budget. The decision is whether
or not Congress will stick to the budget.
We had the budget discussion last spring
and I was very pleased with the outcome of the budget discussion.
As you know, discretionary spending grew
at about 5 percent. I thought the priorities were pretty
clear in the budget. And so the discussion will be, do
budgets mean anything? And so far, the folks in charge of
appropriations have answered the question affirmatively, budgets do
mean something, and the supplementals and the emergency measures were,
you know, right in line and I appreciate that very much, so we'll see.
We'll see whether or not there's the commitment to make national
defense a priority.
Members of both parties are saying, well,
we need to spend more, this, that and the other, and that's
good. What I hope they do is they decide that the budget I
submitted or the request I submitted for '02 is the right number and
that they let us know that that's the number they will fund early, so
that we avoid a fight.
Because I will fight for education funding
and a national defense funding that I think is at the appropriate
level. But "fight" isn't the right word yet.
Q Are you sad that
you have to leave here in about a week and go back?
THE PRESIDENT: No, I'm not sad
at all. I told Campbell life's a series of contrasts and I
will miss -- I will miss Crawford, but I know I will be back
here. And I think people have now got -- are beginning to
realize that this is our home and I'm one of these guys that likes --
I'm a homebody. I like my home. I like my own
bedroom. I like hanging out with my family and friends
But I also know I can do my job from here,
and I look forward to getting back to Washington and getting to
work. I'll be all charged up. I think I'll have
the right perspective and, you know, coming out here makes you realize
that Washington is a wonderful place but it's certainly not the center
of all wisdom and knowledge. And there is a lot of wisdom in
the folks of -- you know, in the minds and souls of the folks of
Crawford, Texas, just like there are amongst some of the elite in
Q Did you say
Margaret LaMontagne is heading up immigration --
THE PRESIDENT: She is the chief
domestic policy advisor who is -- and since that's domestic policy, she
is in charge of that aspect of the -- of domestic policy and doing a
great job. I'm really glad Margaret came to
Washington. She is newly wed, by the way -- Austin wedding
Q But she is known
mostly as an education person here in Texas. Is she
branching out these days?
THE PRESIDENT: No, she was
branched out from day one, as you -- David, I'm surprised you didn't
know, that we made her -- from the minute I got sworn in, she was the
head of domestic policy, which means on every issue that has been in
the domestic scene, she has been very much involved, whether it be
Medicare reform or -- she's doing a great job. Margaret is a
very smart woman. You bet, she was an education person in
Texas. But I realized how brilliant a woman she is and she
can handle just about every task we give her. So she's doing
a good job. I've got a good team.
All right. Let's go.
you. Thank you very much.
Q Thank you for
having us out here.
THE PRESIDENT: I'm thrilled you
got to see it. It will help you understand.
Q What you do out
here all day.
Q It was a real
treat. Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Thanks, I'm glad
Q There may be a
story about Ms. LaMontagne appearing in the Dallas Morning News.
THE PRESIDENT: Got
it. Okay. I appreciate you asking.
Thank you, David.
Q Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: I'm sorry, I
didn't mean to be sarcastic. I thought you didn't know,
Q I always like to
play dumb, and it's an easy role for me to fill, too.
THE PRESIDENT: No false
* * * * *
THE PRESIDENT: I'm going to
give you a little tour to get out of here, so everybody can see
this. Woo-baby. I may be going in the whining
Q Can we come?
Q Can we all come?
THE PRESIDENT: I must confess,
it was a great addition.
Q They won you over
on that, didn't they.
THE PRESIDENT: That's the
canyon we went up. The top -- obviously. And there's a
series of roads out of this place. But I want you to see
this in here. This is -- this greens up really nicely.
In the evenings -- you'll see some cliffs
over here that really are -- I think are really special. See
them over there. I'll give you a better view up here.
I just want to practice
Q I've got to ask,
who does your laundry? Because that's pretty filthy.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, it is.
Q I can't imagine
Mrs. Bush wants that stuff in her --
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we've got
a washer -- the washer-drier room is right off the
porch. And so I'm not saying I strip down outside on the
porch or anything, but I am saying I don't traipse this stuff into the
house, either. (Laughter.)
Maria Galvan (phonetic) is with us as
well. Maria is a -- lived with us in Austin and she lives
with us in Washington.
Q Have your parents
been down? Or are they still sucking up the salt air up
THE PRESIDENT: They haven't
been down this summer.
Q Are they coming?
THE PRESIDENT: Mother and Dad
have been here twice. Both times they were here, it was just
See these cedar elms? These are
spectacular cedar elms. I'll show you another tree that I
think is really special.
There's a whole stand of cedar
elms. This is a pecan right here, lot of fruit on it.
In the evenings, this is where the deer
lie down in here. It's kind of tight and they feel
protected. These are called "motts." When you see
the same type of tree growing close together, it's called a mott,
Q Is the red deer
still here? The --
THE PRESIDENT: Died.
no. What --
THE PRESIDENT: Ate Johnson
grass and the Johnson grass ended up poisoning it. Our
neighbor to the north of us -- I think it was our neighbor to the north
-- saw a bunch of buzzards circling and thought he lost one of his
cows. He went up there and the red stag was there.
This is the middle fork of the Bosque
River we're coming up to now. We've been paralleling
it. You'll get a sense of what it's like. It's a
very gravely-bottom river.
And we've got a beautiful burr oak stand
in here, that's a burr oak. These great, big oaks. And we
discovered what's a pretty rare tree, this tree right there, is a Chica
Pin Oak, which is mainly found in the Houston area. I think
it's the Houston area. It's not found here; it's more of an
east Texas tree.
That's a burr oak. See that --
Q Like Adam Burr?
PRESIDENT: Yes. And that is the --
Q Aaron Burr.
THE PRESIDENT: Are you reading
Shining Brothers? (Laughter.) I am.
Anyway, see, that's the middle fork of the
Bosque. That's our neighbor on the other side there.
Q So this is the
fence line of your property?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, the middle
-- and there's some water pooled in there. Not
much. It's pretty dry. But there are some places
where the water has pooled up.
Q How did you learn
all this stuff about these trees? Did you have someone come
out here and drive you around?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we've got
a book. And I knew some of the trees, you
know. The oak trees are pretty -- the pecan trees, that's
the Texas tree.
But we had a guy Thursday -- two men
Thursday that are professors at Texas A&M; that Diane White Delisi, who
was a state rep and good friend of mine -- you remember her, David --
she is the state rep from Temple. Do you know her, David?
THE PRESIDENT: She came out and
brought them over here. They wanted to see the
place. They had heard we had some beautiful hardwoods on
it. And they came and were really pleased with the health of our trees
and the quality of our trees.
That's the middle fork and then it hits
the Rainey Creek, which I'll show you up here.
Q Do you know if
you're planning to be out here for Thanksgiving?
THE PRESIDENT: I'm not sure,
Q Can those wild
turkeys rest easy?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes --
Q Have you been
THE PRESIDENT: No, I'm not
going to hunt the turkeys.
pigeons? Do you hunt the pigeons?
THE PRESIDENT: No, we don't
have any pigeons -- yes, the doves.
Q The doves, I
THE PRESIDENT: Dove season is
Q Oh, it's not the
THE PRESIDENT: I won't be
here. Plus, we don't have that many doves yet. We
usually don't get a lot of doves until there is a cold front pushing
them south. I hunted last year up here.
Q That was the day
you grilled up the doves, right?
THE PRESIDENT: Did what --
Q -- the doves --
THE PRESIDENT: With the bacon
and the jalapeno?
Q Yes, we had a
THE PRESIDENT: Did you eat
Q I had a bet with
an AP reporter that we couldn't get it on the wire.
THE PRESIDENT: Did you get it
on the wire?
Q Oh, yeah.
THE PRESIDENT: The broad leaf
tree that was a little yellow there is a sycamore tree which are pretty
unusual, and they grow in the creeks.
See the size of these cedar elms
here? They are magnificent trees.
Q Quite the
THE PRESIDENT: I
am. Tree man.
Q Were you always a
THE PRESIDENT: No, I
wasn't. I like trees, but I have come to appreciate them a
lot and I'm guarding them jealously against water suckers like cedars.
Here's the creek, obviously now
dry. But it will give you a sense of what it's
like. And for most of the year this year, water was running
over the crossing.
And again, the broad leaf trees in the
middle are the sycamores. That is an ash. That is
a willow of some kind, see that in the middle there? And then you've
got oaks and pecans, so you have four or five different types of trees
along here. These are pecans. That's a sycamore
and that's a huge pecan tree.
Q Do you get
rattlesnakes on the property?
THE PRESIDENT: I haven't seen
any, but have seen cottonmouths, which are poisonous water
snakes. We found them in the creek. I actually
had a man come up in here into some of the canyons where we suspect
there's rattlesnakes. And he's a rattlesnake
hunter. And he's a local guy.
And what they do is they come up and stake
it and spray diesel fuel up in the hole and drug the snakes and extract
Q For what?
THE PRESIDENT: To get rid of
them. And they use them to suck the venom -- to milk them to
get the venom as an antidote.
Q Have any of your
guests gotten poison ivy or snake bites or anything like that from
THE PRESIDENT: Not yet.
Q But you're hoping
THE PRESIDENT: I hope they're
Q Just kidding.
THE PRESIDENT: Put the doctor
Here is one of our places that have held
Q Oh, yes.
THE PRESIDENT: We've got a
couple of them on this place like this and anyway the creek goes for a
while. And this will give you a sense of the cliffs up
there. See up there?
This property -- this part of the ranch
goes another -- the trail goes another three-quarters mile and then we
go another probably quarter mile beyond that, but there's no
road. This will give you a sense of the cliffs right
here. We own to the top of these cliffs.
Q Wow. Look at the buzzards on the
THE PRESIDENT: They're watching
Q Guarding your
THE PRESIDENT: Making
sure. First the red stag and then --
Q A few reporters?
PRESIDENT: Yes. (Laughter.)
Q How many miles
does this dirt road snake through here, do you know?
THE PRESIDENT: David, I'm not
even sure. I should measure them. I paid for
Here's another one of the
canyons. It's got a stair-step to it, a very long, gradual
Q I think that's
the one you showed us the first time.
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, it was.
Q You said there
THE PRESIDENT: Seven, yes.
Q How many
different properties did you look at before buying this one, or was
this love at first sight?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, this was
-- it was for me, actually. We had seen some -- we had seen
a lot of property in Texas, you know. And a guy said, you
know, we ought to look in this area of Texas. He had bought
a ranch in Gatesville, which is right up the road. And we
went and looked at his place and he said, oh, by the way, you ought to
come and see this Engelbrecht ranch. And we came over here
and I thought it was fabulous.
Laura was a little worried that it would
be hard to access the really beautiful parts of the
ranch. And I told her, I would build the roads necessary to
make sure all of us could get down there easily. And it took
a couple of months. And then another buyer came in and they
didn't honor the deal.
There's the house. See how it
sits in those trees? The guy did a fabulous job of -- and
it's facing south so it picks up a lot of the southerly
breeze. I'll take you --
Q This is manmade,
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I made
it. I paid for it. Obviously, with no rain, it
evaporates. And we've had some good rains.
There are pumps over there. We
keep it pumped because when it does rain, it fills up that little
island and we don't want to kill those oaks.
But it's stocked. I bought a
little bass boat. It's stocked --
Q Very little.
THE PRESIDENT: It
is. It's perfect for that size lake.
It's stocked with a lot of bait fish and I
put in 600 fingerlings. So we started -- didn't put any big
bass in to begin with. And I've caught nearly a pound in
This will give you a sense for the
place. The place on the left there is the
guesthouse. Bedrooms, sitting room. And then on
the right, you can see, it's kind of sectioned. And in
between -- there's three sections and in between each section there is
what they call a dog trot which is a screened-in porch built to capture
the southerly breezes.
And the porch you see out there, we sit
out there in the evening. As you can see the chairs lined up
there, looking east, so the sun is not in our eyes. And
there is a beautiful fireplace there that we use in the winter.
This is the -- right here is an old hand
house that we've refurbished. And now one half of it is a gymnasium,
free weights and exercise machines, and the other half is a room --
Q I've got to ask,
do you drive from there to there to work out, or do you walk?
THE PRESIDENT: Actually, I
walked yesterday when I went to lift weights. But I've got a
little golf cart.
This is the Secret
Service. They're building this. And the
doublewide will leave. This is their command
post. And they were kind enough to ask, you know, whether or
not -- you know, what kind of design would be helpful to make it blend
in. We helped, obviously, put it in that mott of oaks so it
doesn't stand out too much.
We own over to that fence line
there. So we go from here about a mile that way, and from
here about a half mile that way, maybe a little more. And then that's
our western fence line.
Q Was that your
white pickup truck outside the house?
PRESIDENT: No. That is Kenneth Engelbrecht's,
which I use.
Q The Secret
Service is not nervous about you driving?
THE PRESIDENT: I haven't hit
anything yet. But this is the one place I drive.
I built this little pond over
here. Actually, it's got more water than it
looks. And that's a fun -- fun little place to go fly
fish. One of my favorite things to do is when it cools -- it
never cools off. When the sun starts going down, I walk the
dogs over there and they'll play around in the water.
We planted all these oaks along here, and
this is going to be spectacular, as you can see, the walkway.
I don't think we'll be able to get
around. By the way, one of Laura's projects is going to
interest you. This is buffalo grass, which is the native
grass. And she's planted buffalo grass here and we're trying
to restore -- starting with the land between the house and the lake,
including front and back yard, restore all this country to its native
-- native grasses. And one of the A&M; guys was an expert on
native grass as well. And we've got a man out here from the local area
that is a wildflower and native grass expert. The dam has
got native grass on it.
And the idea is to have these grasses that
will be able to sustain themselves, particularly in the hot -- in the
heat, all around particularly the house and as far as you can see
around the house. They are not good for, you know, cattle
necessarily, although they could be.
Q Otherwise, do you
have a sprinkler system?
THE PRESIDENT: We do have a
sprinkler system. The roof drains off into a gravel -- see
the gravel in front of the guest house there? That's a
gravel collector that drains into a cistern. And we water
the trees and the yard.
Obviously, if there's no rain, like we've
had recently, then we are on city water and we water at
night. We're not using much water now because the grass has
pretty well taken hold.
The guy laid this house in these oaks and
did, we think, a beautiful job of placing it in the
landscape. There's native rock on the house. It's a pretty
good size house.
Q It's modest
PRESIDENT: Yes. It's modest, but it's pretty good
size. I mean, the tall ceilings. You can't see
how tall the ceilings are, because the perspective is different because
of how it sits in the trees, but it's perfect for us.
And you see straight ahead is the
screened-in porch there, and then the darker windows there, those are
screened-in porches as well. And the girls' two bedrooms are
on this end, Laura and I are in the middle. And what we call
the great room, which is a combination sitting room and dining room, is
Q On the end by
where the Adirondack chairs are on the porch?
PRESIDENT: Right. And then this is the guest
house and the garage.
Q Do you expect
Putin to stay in this guest house?
THE PRESIDENT: I don't know
what we are going to do. We haven't figured that out
yet. It's going to be --
Q It's pretty
close, if you're right there.
THE PRESIDENT: I would love
Putin to stay there. He can go down to the governor's
house. I don't know what we're going to do. You
can imagine, it's going to be a mass scramble of who gets to stay on
the property and where everybody else will stay. We haven't
figured out the logistics. We're still working on the
Mexican state dinner. (Laughter.)
* * * * *
Q You mean you're
going to sneak out to Ohio without telling us?
THE PRESIDENT: Your question
didn't get much news yesterday on the -- or did it -- on the
Q Did you expect it
THE PRESIDENT: No, not really.
Q They took notice
in New York and overseas.
THE PRESIDENT: Did
they? Good. What did they say?
Q You saw the U.N.
human rights woman, Robinson --
Q Yes, she said
again she'd go.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, she ought
to clean up the language. It's discriminatory, it seems like
to us. And -- yes, maybe they will.
Q So this is
environmentally friendly --
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, very much
so for a couple of reasons. One, it's got a natural water
collection devices all around it, and it's got a heater and cooling
system that takes water and circulates it and transfers the cold water
to the heat and the heated water to the cold, because the ground
temperature -- the subterranean temperature stays constant.
So it's the same type of system that Vice
President Gore put in the vice presidential house, which I didn't
realize, but he did.
Q Those aren't
solar panels on the roof, it just looks --
THE PRESIDENT: No, no, no,
no. No, those aren't solar panels. That
technology isn't quite worked out.
But even more efficient, however, is the
transference of heat and cool as a result of circulating water below
the -- it's called thermal heating and cooling -- okay.
Thank you all for coming. We'll
you. Thank you so much.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you for
coming. I'm glad you're here. David, Action
Okay, we'll see you all.