Today’s Q’s for O’s WH

By Alex Pepper

Jul 1, 2010 3:36pm

ABC News' Yunji de Nies reports:

Yunji de Nies:  The first one is to Admiral Allen about the skimmers.  I understand that there is somewhat of a super-skimmer, a mega- ship called the “whale,” from the Taiwanese.  I just wonder what is the status of approval on that, and how effective do you think that ship will also — will prove to be.

   ALLEN:  I'm not sure I'd call it a skimmer.  That's — I think that's a developmental project.  We want to see how it works.  The owner's made an offer to bring it down at their expense and have it operate in the Gulf area to see if it could be effective.

   We have worked with EPA and other regulatory agencies to give it a go, and it's down in the area.  It'll be ready to operate in a couple of days.  We're anxious to find out how effective it will be.

   But it is a very large ship that's been converted to be able to recover oil, and we'll see how it goes.

   GIBBS:  If we could get a comment in, I think it came from Portugal, was retrofitted until mid-June in Lisbon and then made its way down to the Gulf.

  de Nies:  Do you have high hopes for that?

   ALLEN:  We have high hopes for anything that can be effective down there.

   As you realize, this is all-hands-on-deck evolution.  We get to mass our forces and anything that's effective, we will look forward to using.

  de Nies:  And Robert, to follow on the question about immigration reform, I just wondered, the president is famous for saying that nothing in D.C. happens without a deadline.  Why not set one?

   GIBBS:  Well, again, we — this is — we've made progress on this before.  We know Washington can do this.  But unless or until Republicans that have been doing this before, that have been supportive of immigration reform, that have spoken out eloquently about the need for it — until they get back into this game — and, by that I mean into the legislative arena to solve this problem, it's not going to get solved.

   And that — that — people should understand that.  You know, we all know that, despite what you learned on "Schoolhouse Rock," it's not 50, it's 60 votes in the Senate, right?  Probably to rename a courthouse, it takes 60 votes, right?

   There aren't 60 Democrats left in the Senate, and they're not necessarily — of the 59 that are there, or that normally vote with the Democrats, they may not all support it.  You have to have the support of the many Republicans that have in the past believed that comprehensive immigration reform was the only way to move forward.

  de Nies:  So if this doesn't get done, it's the president's fault, or is it the Republicans' failure?

   GIBBS:  I think it is clear that — if it wasn't clear before today, the president laid out exactly what the problem was that we've been facing for years.  He laid out very specific solutions for what needs to happen.   He is ready, willing and able to work with anybody.

   But unless or until those on the Republican side come back into this arena and decide this is a situation that they want to solve, it won't be solved.

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