Today’s Qs for O’s WH – 5/6/2009

May 6, 2009 3:21pm

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a surprise visit to the briefing room today to talk about the trilateral summit with Afghanistan and Pakistan.

TAPPER:  As this plan was being developed, the U.S. believed that a lot of the insurgency issues were going to be in eastern Afghanistan.  Obviously, the problem has now emerged more heatedly in Pakistan.  How has that affected this strategy of the U.S., as the summit came together?   

CLINTON:  Well, I think that the wisdom of the approach that we took even before the president was inaugurated has been borne out by the events of the last months.  We were determined to see Afghanistan and Pakistan as a — a region, as two countries that were dependent upon each other, influenced each other, and needed to figure out a way forward together. So, if anything, the fast-moving conflict and, frankly, the adaptability of the enemy that we are all fighting has demonstrated clearly the wisdom of that approach.

You know, one of the other comments that was made today is that Afghanistan and Pakistan are conjoined twins.  And in effect, they are.  But they were never treated that way.  You know, they were kind of one-off.  You know, what are we going to do about Afghanistan? And, oh, by the way, what are we going to do about Pakistan? And we have a history there, as you know.  We have a history of having been deeply involved and then having withdrawn.  And so I think seeing the two countries as connected geographically as they are and in as common struggle against Al Qaida and the Taliban and their allies has given us the flexibility to be able to, you know, move more agilely than we did before.

After Secretary Clinton left, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs took questions as well.

TAPPER:  Does the president or the White House have a reaction to the governor of Maine signing a same-sex marriage bill?
   
GIBBS:  No, I think the president’s position on same-sex marriage is — has been talked about and discussed.
   
TAPPER:  He opposes same-sex marriage?
   
GIBBS:  He supports civil unions.
   
TAPPER:  Does that mean that he’s going to say or do anything against what the citizens of Maine did — did today?
   
GIBBS:  Not that I’m aware of.  I think the president believes this is an issue that’s best addressed by the states.

– jpt

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