Feds Exhaust Options
For Terri - Bush

By Deb Riechmann
Associated Press Writer

(Would Bush say the same thing if it were Jenna or Barbara being starved to death in that hospice bed? -ed.)
WACO, Texas - President Bush suggested Wednesday that he and Congress had done their best to help Terri Schiavo's parents prolong her life, and the White House said it has no further legal options.
"We felt like the actions taken with Congress was the best course of action," Bush said.
He spoke during a news conference with his counterparts from Canada and Mexico.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan later said, "There really are not other legal options available to us."
"We have explored all our options previously," McClellan said.
The brain-damaged woman's parents, racing against time, asked a federal appeals court in Atlanta on Wednesday for an emergency review of an appellate panel's ruling that her feeding tube not be hooked up again.
Schiavo's parents have also vowed to take their fight to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Asked what avenues might remain, Bush said, "Now we'll watch the courts make (their) decisions. But we looked at all options from the executive branch perspective."
"This is an extraordinary and sad case," he added.
Bush held a three-way news conference at Baylor University with Mexican President Vicente Fox and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin.
Martin did not back down from Canada's decision last month to snub Washington on missile defense.
"The file is closed," he said.
In a move that surprised the Bush administration, Martin opted out of the U.S. missile shield to protect the United States and some allies from ballistic nuclear missile attack.
The issue continues to be a sore point between the United States and Canada.
For his part, Bush said there are "going to be disagreements and differences," but that he believed the overall U.S. relationship with Canada was "very strong and very positive."
On another subject, Bush was asked if he was setting a deadline for North Korea to return to six-party talks aimed at ending its nuclear program.
He suggested there was no deadline, saying, "I'm a patient person."
But, Bush said that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il must understand that all other five parties to the talks - the United States, South Korea, China, Japan and Russia - want a nuclear-weapons free Korean peninsula.
"For the sake of peace and tranquility and stability in the Far East, Kim Jong Il must listen," he said.
Bush said he had received a two-hour briefing from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who just returned from a weeklong visit to Asia.
The three leaders, seeking to restore smooth relations after disagreements over Iraq, announced a pact with Canada and Mexico to broaden cooperation on security and economic issues.
They later went to Bush's ranch in nearby Crawford for lunch.
Meanwhile, Wednesday was the fifth day that Terri Schiavo has not received nourishment from a feeding tube.
Bush said he had "looked at all options prior to taking the action we took last weekend in concert with Congress."
Over the weekend, Republicans in Congress pushed through unprecedented emergency legislation aimed at prolonging Schiavo's life by allowing the case to be reviewed by federal courts.
Bush rushed from his ranch in Crawford, Texas, to Washington and signed the bill in the early-morning hours of Monday.
But on Tuesday, a federal judge in Tampa rejected the parents' request to have the tube reinserted. That decision was upheld by the federal appellate panel in Atlanta.
"I believe that in a case such as this, the legislative branch, the executive branch, ought to err on the side of life, which we have," Bush said.
The president said he had not discussed next steps in the case with his brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. White House aides said he had talked to his brother on Friday.
McClellan, expanding upon the president's news conference remarks, said later, "The parents are still seeking relief through the courts, and we continue to hope the courts will respond. The president will continue to stand on the side of defending life."
In Washington, the House Government Reform Committee on Wednesday canceled a hearing for this Friday that it scheduled last week as a tactic to stop Schiavo's feeding tube from being removed.
A Senate committee that tried to do the same thing by inviting Schiavo to Washington said it still plans to hold its hearing on health care for incapacitated patients on Monday.
Copyright © 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.



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