Today’s Qs for O’S WH

Apr 28, 2009 3:21pm

TAPPER:  I want to follow up on two of Jennifer’s* questions. One, when it comes to the director of the White House Military Office, Mr. Caldera, does the president have any concerns that this decision he made that he took responsibility for indicates a lack of judgment that might make him improper to keep holding that post?   

GIBBS:  Well, as you mentioned, Mr. Caldera took responsibility for this.  I think it’s been characterized that the president was furious upon learning of — of this decision.  And that’s why he’s asked the deputy chief of staff to undertake a review in order to understand how the decision was made and to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.  And based on that, we’ll take steps from there.   

TAPPER:  So — OK.  And then the other question about Arlen Specter, some Democrats — less than two weeks ago, Specter, when he was arguing that he was going to stay a Republican, was talking about how he was the only thing standing between an onslaught of big Obama spending programs — that’s a quote — and — and passing into law. Because he was the 41st senator, he’d block it.   

Now he is a Democrat.  Is the president at all concerned that maybe there should be competition for that seat?  I mean, there’s been talk that Governor Rendell is going to work to keep other Democrats out of the primary so that Specter runs unopposed.  I’m sure if the president has an opinion about whether he should run unopposed or not, but is there concern that a "better" — quote, unquote — Democrat would be better for that seat?   

GIBBS:  Well, let me — let me just repeat what the president told Senator Specter this morning, that he has the president’s full support, that he’s thrilled that he’s switched parties and is a Democrat, and we look forward to working, as we have on the recovery and reinvestment plan, with Senator Specter.   

I think Senator Specter has said in his statement today that he’s not automatically going to be a vote for any party.  We’ve talked about it a lot in this room, that the president will reach out to members of either party or any party to gain their support, understanding that he’s not likely to get 100 percent support from anyone at any time. But I think the decision he made to represent his constituents in Pennsylvania is one, obviously, that we support, and we support Senator Specter.

* Jennifer Loven of the Associated Press

– jpt

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