Today’s Qs for O’s WH – 8/6/2009

Aug 6, 2009 1:24pm

TAPPER:  Some foreign policy experts have wondered about the precedent set by President Clinton's trip to North Korea, the humanitarian mission, as you guys describe it, about whether or not it would mean that other rogue states making a similar request in a similar situation — and it's not too hard to see a fairly close parallel with what's going on in Iran, right now — whether that would now merit a visit from somebody of President Clinton's prestige. And I was wondering, A, if that was a concern before you guys signed off on this trip, and, B, what you response is to that criticism?

GIBBS:  Well, look, I — I've described this, and others, as separate from the concerns that we have about North Korea — its nuclear policy, its provocative international actions.  And I think our policy to ensure that U.N. Security Council regulations are — are implemented is no different today than it was Monday, before President Clinton left. This was a private humanitarian mission with only the goal of bringing back two journalists to safety.

I don't — I don't read a lot of precedent into it.  I know the president is enormously thankful and grateful for the work that President Clinton did on this and his willingness to undertake such an important mission. But that's what this was about.  I think the administration has taken very strong action relating to — relating to and responding to the actions of the North Koreans.  I think what happened in the U.N. Security Council, the unanimous passage of those resolutions, and the impact that they have already had on ensuring that the North Koreans are unable to move weapons out of their country, quite frankly is the best response for anybody's criticism.

TAPPER:  And then Senator Cornyn sent you guys a letter expressing concern about the tips@whitehouse.gov and what that means, what exactly you were seeking in terms of disinformation. I got a statement from Linda Douglass earlier, and I assume that — that, just from what she suggests in her response, you guys are not going to be saving the names or the I.P. addresses, anything along those lines.

GIBBS:  Nobody is collecting names.  This was — we have seen, and as I've discussed from this podium, a lot of misinformation around health care reform.  Some of it I think spread purposely. We have used on many occasions the Web site to debunk things that are simply not true.  We ask people if they have questions about health care reform and about what they're hearing about its affects on them, to let us know and we'd provide them information to show that that wasn't true, but nobody is collecting names.

TAPPER:  Is it "misinformation" that in 2003 President Obama, then a state senator, supported a single-payer health care system?

GIBBS:  I think, again, if you look at the statements that have been put up on other Internet sites that splice a bunch of stuff together, and I think if you look at the answers that state senator, U.S. senator, and President Barack Obama has given on that, I think — we hope to provide people with a full and accurate picture, not something that — only the words that opponents might want to see.

- jpt

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