TAPPER: Thanks, Mr. President.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yeah.
TAPPER: Experts say they can’t recall a time when the U.S. ever had to rush assistance to a nuclear power plant in another country before. What can you tell us about how serious this is with the U.S. rushing coolant to Japan because of the nuclear plant there?*
And then, a second question: State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the treatment of Bradley Manning by the Pentagon is “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.” And I’m wondering if you agree with that. Thank you, sir.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: On point number one, when I spoke to Prime Minister Kan, I specifically asked him about the nuclear plants and their potential vulnerability as a consequence of the earthquake. He indicated that they are monitoring the situation very closely. So far, they have not seen evidence of radiation leaks. But obviously, you’ve got to take all potential precautions. And I’ve asked Steve Chu, our Energy secretary, to be in close contact with their personnel to provide any assistance that’s necessary, but also to make sure that if in fact there have been breaches in the safety system on these nuclear plants, that they’re dealt with right away.
With respect — with respect to Private Manning, you know, I have actually asked the Pentagon whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards. They assure me that they are. I can’t go into details about some of their concerns, but some of this has to do with Private Manning’s safety as well.
TAPPER: Do you disagree with P.J. Crowley?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I think I — I gave you an answer to — to the substantive issue.
TAPPER: let me get one more quick question. On the coolant, how did that happen? Why — you know, what’s the –
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I — I — I don’t yet have all the details, Jake, so I’m going to have to defer that question until we get more. Obviously, the tragedy just happened a few hours ago, and there’s going to be a lot of fact-finding that we’re going to have to determine.
*Please note: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said coolant was being sent to Japan, but it now seems the U.S. actually sent diesel generators to get the water pumps running.