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Ari & I: March 3, 2003

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)

Russell Mokhiber: Ari, you say the President is going to the AMA [American Medical Association] tomorrow to give a speech. There is also a group of victims of medical malpractice who are in town. They want to meet with the President. One of them is a gentleman named Richard Flagg. He is a Vietnam Vet who voted for the President. I just spoke to him and he said that he was diagnosed with a tumor in his left lung. The surgeon took out his right lung -- his healthy right lung. He's now ashamed that he voted for the President because the President is seeking to limit what he can get in terms of non-economic damages. I'm wondering two things -- why won't the President meet with victims of medical malpractice just to get their point of view? And two, why won't he meet also with a wide range of Americans who have asked to meet with the President, who are opposed to the war, including religious leaders?

Ari Fleischer: On the first question, I would urge everybody to be at the speech tomorrow. The President, in his remarks tomorrow is going to talk about issues involving medical liability. And he's going to talk about problems that do come up with doctors, and mistakes that can be made by doctors, and patients' right to just and fair compensation. Patient safety remains of paramount concern. I think it would be interesting on what the President has to say on that important part of this issue tomorrow. As always, the President meets with a variety of groups and hears a variety of concerns. And we'll keep you informed of who he meets with.

Mokhiber: Has he met with any of those representatives, Ari?

[Ari moves on]

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