Today’s Q’s for O’s WH

By Alex Pepper

Aug 11, 2010 3:26pm

Yunji de Nies:  Following on Jennifer's question, I mean, do you regret any of what you said to The Hill?

GIBBS:  I will say I think there are many times when I read the transcripts even of answers I give in here that I could have done — could have said things slightly differently.  I will say, you know, I watch a lot of cable TV, and you don't have to watch long to get frustrated by some of what's said.  And I think that's what that answer was born out of.

de Nies:  But do you feel like there's still substance to what you said, not necessarily, maybe — not in the way you said it, but that there is too much of a demand or too much pressure, perhaps, from the left of the party and that there's…

GIBBS:  I didn't say there's too much of a demand.  I think — or too much pressure.  I think that a lot of what — a lot of the issues that Democrats throughout the party have worked — have worked to see happen have — have come to fruition, as part of what this president has accomplished in the first 17 months.  Health care was an issue that was worked on for 100 years. President after president after president discussed the importance of passing something comprehensive and historic that cut how much we were paying for health care, that extended the life, as we saw last week, of the Medicare trust fund.  I think those are accomplishments that we all should be proud of, regardless of whether it encompasses 100 percent of what we had wanted in the beginning.

de Nies: And what about the rest that is outstanding, gay rights, Guantanamo…

GIBBS: I will say this, all things that the president made commitments on and is — is focused on doing.  We have a process under way with the Pentagon to make changes, as the president outlined in the campaign, and quite frankly, even before the campaign, in "Don't ask, Don't tell" (ph), as somebody running for the U.S. Senate in 2004.  We have a process to make good on overturning "Don't ask, Don't tell."

de Nies:  What do you say to progressives who, on reading your comments yesterday, say, "Well, if that's their attitude, I'm staying home in November"?

GIBBS:  I don't think they will, because I think what's at stake in November is too important to do that.  I think what's at stake in November, as you've heard the president outline throughout trips — on trips throughout this country exactly the choices we face in November.  Are we going to go back to the economic policies that got us into this mess, or are we going — or are we going to go forward and see the type of progress that we've seen over the past 18 months?  You know, I don't think it's any — if you look at the — I mean, today the president had a meeting, probably what, two, two and a half weeks before ending our combat mission in Iraq.  That was a significant part of — we don't talk about it as much, but I think we all remember we spent almost all of 2007 and a hefty part of 2008 debating our role in Iraq almost exclusively.

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