Today’s Qs for O’s WH – 1/21/2010

Jan 21, 2010 3:48pm

TAPPER: The Dow dropped 200 points after the announcement, led by bank stocks.  And I'm wondering how you walk the line between getting tough on Wall Street and yet not wanting to alienate those who created jobs.
GIBBS:  Well, I would say this. As we've discussed in here, based on different proposals, I'm not going to comment on the individual daily fluctuations of the stock market or the fluctuations daily of stocks and the factors that might or might now drive them.

In what I said to Chip (Reid of CBS), this is a proposal to add some stability to our financial system, to help shareholders, to help taxpayers, to help all of those involved provide that long-term financial stability.

So what the market does in reaction one day or the next is — is not for me to comment on.  What the president is focused on as part of financial reform is a set and a series of rules of the road going forward that provide the stability in our financial system that we lacked only a few years ago.

TAPPER: I think the questions about timing and the fact that this wasn't included in the president's proposal six months ago…

GIBBS:  Right.

TAPPER:  … the underlying hypothesis is that Scott Brown was elected to the Senate on Tuesday. There are a lot of angry voters out there.  Democrats in the White House are upset and worried about it.  You said yesterday — when I asked you about how the administration would appeal to angry voters, you mentioned regulatory reform as one of the three things that you would talk about. And…

GIBBS:  Sure.  But I…

TAPPER:  … was this hastily…

TAPPER:  I mean, Volcker obviously has been talking about this for months, if not years.  But was this hastily added to the schedule?
GIBBS:  No, no, no.  This was — this is an issue that I know Austan has been in meetings; I've been in meetings about this, dating back several months.

I think one of the — the president had a fairly conclusive conversation moving forward on this before he left for Christmas.

It's obviously a complex proposal, and we wanted to get — we wanted to get that part of it right.

But this is not something that was done as a result of anything that's happened this week.  This proposal is as a result of what has happened over the course of many years in allowing, as Austan said, the rules of the road in many ways to be gamed for — in favor of the type of firms whose actions we seek to limit today.

TAPPER: Tomorrow will be the one-year anniversary of President Obama saying that Guantanamo will be shut down.  Obviously, you're not going to make a deadline. Do you have any idea when the process will be done?

GIBBS:  I don't know when the process will be done.  I know they've made great progress on — look, establishing, first and foremost, case files and recognitions of who indeed was still there and why. The — there has been progress on that.  There's been progress on issues of siting a new detention facility.  The president won't meet the deadline he laid out a year ago, but the president, his national security team, our generals in Iraq and Afghanistan understand the support for Al Qaida that Guantanamo provides them, in recruiting, in attracting those that seek to do us harm. To keep the American people safe, the president pledged to close Guantanamo Bay, and he'll do that.

TAPPER:  And can I just ask one more question about today's announcement? I understand that this was cast within the whole context of the financial meltdown.  Correct if I'm wrong, but there's nothing that the president's proposing today that will create any jobs.  I mean, it's not — this isn't going to do anything to Wall Street other than try to prevent future disasters.  But it wouldn't do anything on the job creation front.
GIBBS:  No, this is — this is — that's not what the proposal was intended to do.  This was — this is about rules of the road for banks that engage, as you heard Austan describe, in activities that before so long ago weren't traditionally the purview of banks.

TAPPER: Do you think you need to be doing more to talk about creating jobs and not just…


GIBBS:  I think the president will talk about that later today in front of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.


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