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Ari & I: July 16, 2001

Russell Mokhiber questions White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer

Russell Mokhiber questions White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer

White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer gestures as he speaks to reporters at the White House briefing room April 2, 2003 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Mokhiber: Ari, I've got two questions for you.

There appears to be a grassroots movement, led by Republicans nationwide, to keep big rig interstate trucks -- to keep them on the Interstate highways and to ban them from small two-lane, two-lane roads.

For example, Christine Whitman, when she was Governor of New Jersey, implemented this policy in parts of New Jersey.

Senator Warner got behind an effort to ban these big trucks from a small road in Virginia just last week, Rt. 17. It's happening in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia.

Does the President favor this kind of limitation on interstate trucks to the interstate highway systems?

Ari Fleischer: Russell, that's a matter the Department of Transportation will be working on it. I don't think that's something the President himself would get involved in.

Mokhiber: Okay, second question I have for you. There is a broad coalition of political leaders ranging from former CIA Director James Woolsey to consumer advocate Ralph Nader, that is pushing for the legalization of industrial hemp.

This is a non-drug crop that was grown by Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. It has a wide range of uses -- clothing, fuel, among others.

Farmers around world are growing -- in China and Canada -- and importing it. It is illegal here in the United States for farmers to grow it.

Does the President favor the legalization of industrial hemp?

Fleischer: I'm not aware of any statement that the President has made that would lend one to reach that conclusion.

Mokhiber: Could you look into it for me?

Fleischer: Industrial hemp?

Mokhiber: Yes.

Fleischer: Well, I will advise you if anything changes from what I just said.

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