There is also progress being made on that side. All of this has been predictable in the sense that we knew once we created this window of opportunity, we were going to focus on what are the resources that are necessary, where are we going to be making progress. But the July '11 date, as stated by the president, that's not moving. That's not changing. Everybody agreed on that date. General Petraeus did. Secretary Gates did. As also Admiral Mullen agreed.
And the goal is to take this opportunity, focus on what needs to get done, and then on July 2011, is to begin the reduction of...
TAPPER: But it could be any...
EMANUEL: ... troops.
TAPPER: But it could be any number of people.
EMANUEL: That's what you'll evaluate based on the conditions on the ground. That is -- but what had to happen prior to that was having a date that gave everybody, the NATO, international forces, as well as Afghanistan, that sense of urgency to move.
TAPPER: The prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, was supposed to visit the White House earlier this month. He had to cancel that because of the incident with the flotilla. Has that visit been rescheduled?
EMANUEL: Yes. The president has offered the dates of July 6th, where the prime minister, Netanyahu, will be coming back to the White House to reschedule. That will be the fifth visit by the prime minister to the White House to work on a series of issues that are from the peace process, the security of the state of Israel, also dealing with the other issues in and around the region.
TAPPER: Do you believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu is the kind of leader who is willing to take big risks to make peace?
EMANUEL: Yes. But it's not important what Rahm believes. I mean, he has been clear about what he intends to do, what he needs to do. And the president has been clear of what we need to do to seize this moment of opportunity here in the region to finally make peace. Peace that -- where Israel feels secure and peace that's in balance with the Palestinians' aspirations for sovereignty.
That is possible. It was close in the Camp David of 2000. It is now the time, given where we are, to basically find that proper balance that gives Israel that sense of security it needs, and the firm commitment it needs on security. And measure that up with what the Palestinians need for their own sovereignty.
TAPPER: You've said that the administration has broken the back of the recession. And yet unemployment continues to hover around 10 percent, 1.2 million Americas are scheduled to lose their unemployment benefits this month. And the president, in addition, has been pushing for $50 billion in emergency spending for states and cities that Congress at this point seems to have ignored.
Steny Hoyer, the House majority leader, refers to spending fatigue that Congress has. And Republicans and some Blue Dog Democrats are pushing for spending cuts to offset these spending programs, the $50 billion, the unemployment. That doesn't seem so crazy, does it? Should these spending programs be paid for and offset with cuts?
EMANUEL: Well, first of all, it's important to remember, Jake, when we had to -- came to office, the economy was shrinking by a little over 6 percent. Today it's growing by 3 percent. In some cases, a little more.