Today’s Q’s for O’s WH — 7/21/2010

Jul 21, 2010 4:30pm

TAPPER:  Apparently, she’s watching this briefing, Shirley Sherrod, on CNN right now.  Is there anything you want to say to her?
  
(LAUGHTER)
  
(CROSSTALK)
  
GIBBS:  The secretary is trying to reach her.  I hope that the secretary reaches her soon and they have an opportunity to talk.  The secretary will apologize for the actions that have taken place over the past 24 to 36 hours.  And on behalf of the administration, I offer our apologies. Again, I — I — this is more directed at everybody at large here.  I think — I think everybody has to go back.  We have — we will continue to — and look at what has happened over the past 24 to 36 hours, and ask ourselves how we got into this.  How did we get into — how did we not ask the right questions?  How did you all not ask the right questions?  How did other people not ask the right questions?  And go from there.
  
TAPPER:  I “asked the right questions.”  I actually called her before we reported on this to find out what her story is, and so you can fault the media if you want, but…
  
GIBBS:  I don’t fault the media, Jake, but I — I — no, no, hold on.  I’m not here to fault the media. I’ve apologized on behalf of the administration.  I — I will say a number of people called quite quickly after these comments aired and wanted to know what our response was.  I don’t know — I don’t know who else called.  I don’t know — I don’t know who made calls trying to seek a greater understanding.  We made a mistake on that and I think many involved in this made mistakes.

  
TAPPER:  I’ve heard conservatives and liberals say this administration overreacted because you’re afraid of conservative commentators.  Do you think there’s any truth to that?

GIBBS: No.

TAPPER: And can I ask a follow-up on financial regulation. One of the things about — one of the uncertainties a lot of people in the business community are worried about has to do with the fact that there’s so much rule-making that has yet to occur, hundreds of rules, dozens of studies  Is that not a possible reason as to — because there’s so many things that were left vague in this legislation, is that now a possible reason…

GIBBS:  No, no, no, let’s not — let’s be clear.  Rule-making doesn’t take place based on legislative vagueness.  Rule-making is — happens in virtually every piece of legislation that is passed in order to implement legislative directives.

TAPPER:  OK, but the vice president said that the business community, right now, should — should not have uncertainty because this legislation is passed…
  
(CROSSTALK)
  
TAPPER:  They don’t know if an account is somebody whose derivatives need to be monitored.  They don’t know what the fees are going to be.

 
GIBBS:  I think the legislative intent is clear.  I do not believe that — I think — I think this provides certainty for people on Wall Street.  It provides certainty for people that work in the financial industry.  And I think it provides certainty for those on Main Street, that they’re going to be protected. Again, there were those — I think many of the people that — that you discussed — let’s be clear — spent tens of millions of dollars hiring hundreds if not thousands of lobbyists to water down the legislation and stop it. That’s — that’s — that’s the role that many of those people played that you just mentioned.  I don’t think that — I think the motives of those, I think, are important to understand.  And I do think this provides certainty for all.
  
TAPPER:  Last question about Shirley Sherrod:  Why do you think there was such an overreaction?
  
GIBBS:  I don’t know.  I think, again — I think, in a frenzied culture where everything happens so quickly, where — when everybody — when one person has a story, everybody has to have a story, and responses are given, mistakes, in this case, clearly were made.

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