Today’s Q for O’s WH – 3/3/09

Mar 3, 2009 3:44pm

TAPPER:  One question for today and one follow-up question from previous — a previous week.  Regarding the stock market, the president said he didn’t want to get into the day-to-day stuff; it was like reading a daily tracking poll. But if your tracking polls over a matter of a month or two were going down significantly, that wouldn’t be a day-to-day analysis. That would be a trend, and you’d be concerned about it if you were running for office, just using the president’s analogy.  Do you think…

GIBBS:  Late last summer?

TAPPER:  Is the president…

GIBBS:  I meant ’07.

TAPPER:  Is the president at all concerned that — that what he’s selling Wall Street just isn’t buying, that…

GIBBS:  To use the market analogy?

TAPPER:  Yes, that — that — that he’s proposing…

GIBBS:  No.

TAPPER:  … all these ideas and economic plans.  And it’s not that Wall Street doesn’t understand them; they don’t think they’re going to work.

GIBBS:  No, I think the president quite clearly said today that he has confidence in the plans that are being developed.  Obviously, we’re in the beginning phases of implementing the recovery and reinvestment plan, announcement at the Transportation Department today for $28 billion to save or create 150,000 jobs, a home foreclosure plan, financial stability.  Look, I don’t doubt, Jake, that there are some on Wall Street, as I’ve said before, who would like to wake up, have someone come in, take everything bad, move it over here, and let everybody start all over again.  And as much as some people may like that, it’s not either completely feasible or beneficial to do that.

Obviously, Wall Street has made mistakes and we are in a deep hole that is going to take us some time to get out of.  And I think the American people understand that.  They understand that we didn’t get here just off of last quarter, the last two quarters, that we’ve been heading in this direction in a trend line for quite some time. But the president is confident in the steps that the economic team is taking and that he is taking to get that economy moving again.  And I think he understands and I think the American people understand that, if we continue to make these decisions, that, as I said, we’ll create those jobs and that brighter days are certainly ahead.

Again, the president’s job is — is he — you know, he’s obviously concerned about any number of — of economic indicators. But, again, rather than looking at something even through a one- or two-month lens, again, we didn’t get into this problem based on one or two bad months. We got into this problem based on the trend of many years, whether it’s ignoring the investments that we needed to make that are now taking up a lot of the budgets of families or businesses or even the government, or if we’ve made regulatory decisions that allowed some people to act in an irresponsible way that many of us are paying for now, that those trends are something that we have to change.

TAPPER:  OK, and just a follow-up question that Josh Gerstein from Politico asked a week or two ago before Chas Freeman had been named to the National Intelligence Council.  There were a lot of people, including some Democrats in Congress, who were concerned about Mr. Freeman, both in terms of his ties to the government of Saudi Arabia and also because of his association and statement of views that — that some consider to be anti-Israel, as well as the Middle East Policy journal’s publishing of a very controversial essay called "The Israel Lobby." Is the Obama White House aware of all these concerns?  And what’s the response to it?

GIBBS:  Well, I’ve — I’ve — I’ve not read those. I think anybody can look at what the president has said and what the president’s views are, enumerating from the very beginning of this administration the desire to be engaged actively in the Middle East region to ensure a durable and lasting peace.  It is something that he’s said he would work on each and every day.  The secretary of state, obviously, in the region today to do that. I haven’t looked directly at that stuff, but I think people can be reasonably assured of where the president is on this and how he’ll be actively engaged in seeking Middle East peace.

– jpt

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