Today’s Qs for O’s WH – 5/19/2009

By Caitlin Taylor

May 19, 2009 3:34pm

TAPPER: What do you say to consumers, who are concerned about the fact that cars will cost more up front and that perhaps they won’t be as safe?

GIBBS: Well, the safety arguments have been dealt with for a very, very long time. And I don’t think they have a lot of credence. I think as you all do your stories today, I expect that you would report that any increase in cost is quickly ameliorated by what one saves in fuel efficiency. That’s generally paid quickly over the first three years. And in fact over the life of the car, the average life of the car, a consumer is likely to actually save a considerable amount of money, rather than seeing an increase in cost.

TAPPER: So in other words, consumers don’t have to make any sacrifices at all.

GIBBS: No, no. I don’t know what sacrifices they may make. They may decide to make –

TAPPER: But this policy will require no sacrifices.

GIBBS: Well, this policy won’t require, over the length of the average life of their car, that they’ll see any increased expense. In fact, they will save money, because a higher fuel-efficiency standard obviously uses less fuel and ultimately costs less money to operate. I think this is — this is a big win for consumers. This is a big win for anybody that’s concerned about our dependence on foreign oil. It’s a big win for those that are concerned about harmful greenhouse gas pollution. And I think in many ways it’s a testament to the hard work or a lot of people, in the administration, in bringing a very disparate group of stakeholders together, for the very first time, to agree on one standard for emissions and for fuel economy, something that hasn’t been done before. Usually, when we’re talking about this issue and we see the actors and the stakeholders that were involved in the announcement today, they’re usually lined up on opposite sides of the room, arguing against one another. Today they shared the stage, along with elected officials and others that have long been proponents of today’s policy in celebrating something that I said — as I said before, will reduce our dependence on foreign oil, make our planet cleaner, and is a win for everybody involved.

TAPPER: Can I just ask one follow-up on my colleague’s question about the detainees in Guantanamo Bay?

GIBBS: Mm-hmm.

TAPPER: So far since President Obama has taken office, two detainees have been released to — one to the U.K. and one to France, where they are essentially free, and I understand that’s — that’s court-ordered by a judge. What’s the consultation process that’s going on before these moves are happening? Are you informing Congress at all? Because it seems to me from talks I’ve had with people on Capitol Hill, they don’t know of these things until they happen.

GIBBS: Well, we could find somebody to describe for you what the process is for transfer of a court-ordered detainee out of Guantanamo into a country that will receive — receive them. In terms of security and surveillance, I would point you to each of the individual governments in Great Britain and in France for follow-ups on those specific questions.

- jpt

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