Today’s Q’s for O’s WH – 1/8/2010

Jan 8, 2010 2:35pm

TAPPER:  Economists like Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman say that they're worried there's going to be — the economy's going to contract in the second half.  How worried is President Obama about a double-dip recession?

GIBBS:  Well, again, I think — I would say the president is worried about today and worried about the future.

TAPPER:  Does he think it's likely?  I mean, is he…

GIBBS:  I — I — I would simply say the president is — wakes up concerned every day about where this economy is; understands that millions are hurting, whether they are in last month's job losses or the job losses stretching past those two years since this recession officially began. But understand, people were hurting long before a board said there was a recession in this country.

TAPPER:  Right.  But obviously you plan differently if you expect a, you know, another contraction of the economy coming up, as opposed to the line that we're on right now.

GIBBS:  Well, but I also think that the president — again, I refer you back to what the president talked about in December:  him not being satisfied with where we were and wanting to change that — the direction of that line.

TAPPER:  So he is preparing as if there is going to be a contraction.  He is…

(CROSSTALK)

GIBBS:  No, no, no, no. I — he's not an economic prognosticator.  The president is concerned about the economy; concerned about the stories of people hurting that he has heard for many, many years and is working to do all that we can to create an environment for businesses, small and large, to hire more people.

TAPPER:  The — the administration this week announced that it was going to temporarily, at least, or for the time being suspend the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo Bay to Yemen.  You did transfer six in December.  Are you — do you know where those six are?

GIBBS:  I'm not going to get into — I think Christi (Parsons of the Chicago Tribune) asked these questions the other day and I'm not going to get into discussing transfers.

TAPPER:  OK. Given the need to talk to Congress and get them on board with the transfer of prisoners to the Thomson Correctional Center, the need to convert that prison from a maximum security prison to a super-max, do you have any realistic timetable as to when you think Guantanamo can actually be closed?

GIBBS:  I — I think Christi also asked that question.  I didn't have a timetable answer. Obviously, we'll work with Congress in the upcoming session on many of the things that you talked about, not just retrofitting, but purchasing a prison on Thomson, as well as other issues relating to the movement of prisoners from Guantanamo to Thomson.

TAPPER:  One last question, I'm sorry.  The — in recent days, Qais Khazali, who was a member — the leader of the League of the Righteous in Iraq.  He was arrested by U.S. forces in 2007.  He was responsible for an attack in Karbala that killed five U.S. soldiers.  In recent days, the U.S. military has turned him over to the Iraqis, and the Iraqis have freed him as part of the reconciliation going on there.

GIBBS:  I — let me ask somebody to…

TAPPER: I got this from the Pentagon.

GIBBS:  OK.  Well, let me ask — let me get some information on the — on that case.  I don't have anything in front of me.

TAPPER:  Well, this is a general question:  Is it appropriate for the U.S. military to turn…

GIBBS:  Let me — let me — other than what you've told me, I'm not overly familiar with the details of the case.

TAPPER:  Just as a general principle?

GIBBS:  I don't want to — I don't want to generalize about something with which you've just asked me with great specificity.

– jpt

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