Subject: pool report #8
Marine One landed in Manhattan at about 6:50 p.m. and we’re now motorcading to Lincoln Center.
Josh Earnest and Jen Psaki gaggled on board. Highlights:
-Earnest announced that the president has been briefed on increased cases of West Nile virus in Texas and the southern United States. More information available from the CDC, which is aiding with the response.
-He said the president this morning received an update from FEMA on preparation for Hurricane Isaac, which appears headed for the east Caribbean Sea. Far too early to tell if this will pose a threat to the coastline.
-Psaki gave update on campaign travel next week for Potus, VPotus and Flotus. They will all be out there “laying out the choice” that voters will face. Obama: two-day college tour in Iowa, Colorado and Virginia. Tuesday: he’ll be in Ames, Iowa, and Fort Collins, Colo., and on Wednesday he’ll be in Charlottesville, Va. Monday and Tuesday, VP Biden will be going to the “belly of the beast” in Florida to talk to voters including seniors and Latinos. First lady will be on the Late Show with David Letterman on Wednesday, appearing in her official capacity as part of a back to school media tour that will also include two other shows, not yet announced, that she’ll tape that day in New York, to air in mid-September.
Q: Is Biden a category three or a category four storm blowing into Tampa? “I think Biden is like a sunny day to the middle class families across this country who are looking for someone who’s gonna fight for them in the White House,” Psaki said.
-On Israel’s call for Abbas’ ouster as head of the Palestinian Authority: Earnest said he has not seen the comments.
-Asked if Potus will meet with new president of Egypt, Earnest said he will have at least a couple of bilateral meetings when he is at UNGA in September.
-Asked about U.N. General Secretary Ban Ki-moon’s decision to attend the summit in Tehran, Earnest said Iran is trying to use this event to distract attention from how isolated they are. We hope the world leaders who choose to attend anyway will use the opportunity to express the concerns that have been expressed throughout the international community and to encourage Iran to live up to its international obligations.
-On CBO report on impact of the fiscal cliff: Earnest said it illustrates how damaging it is for House Republicans to stand in the way of a policy that enjoys broad bipartisan support: ensuring taxes do not go up on 98% of Americans. The CBO report also illustrates the need for Congress to take action on a long-term deficit reduction package.
-On deficit reduction: Earnest said Obama believes “we can have a positive impact on our economy” through the president’s proposal to increase taxes on income above $250,000.
He blamed Republicans and “even the president’s opponent in this election” for proposing slashing federal spending on renewable energy research and development.
-On basketball: Earnest said he does not know if Obama has been practicing ahead of tonight’s fundraiser in New York.
-He said there are no updated reports on Obama’s right knee, which Obama was seen to have been favoring in recent days.
-Psaki said the president won’t shoot hoops in public because tonight is “a fundraising evening.”
“He plays basketball all the time and there are special occasions like when he visited the troops when we do make that time available, but this evening it’s just one part of the fundraising events.”
“This is a time for him to let loose and play with some supporters,” Psaki said.
-On Missouri Senate, Psaki declined to say whether Obama believes it is appropriate for Todd Akin to remain a US Senate candidate.
“The president leaves that, we all leave that up to the people of Missouri to make that decision,” Psaki said.
She then reiterated Obama’s comments on Akin from Monday before speaking about Republicans who have distanced themselves from the congresssman.
“It doesn’t take a profile in courage for people to step away from the comments that Todd Akin made,” she said. “The vast majority, 99 percent or more of people in this country, elected officials, have all stepped away.”
Psaki then reiterated the differences between Romney/Ryan on women’s health and Obama, citing the GOP platform adopted Tuesday on abortion.
“You know, Paul Ryan worked with Todd Akin on legislation in Congress that would redefine what rape is, so we shouldn’t lose sight of that,” she said.
Psaki wouldn’t say whether it is advantageous to Obama’s campaign for Akin to remain in the Missouri Senate race.
“Well, you are all talking about this and it provides an opportunity to continue to lay out the choice between the president’s positions and Mitt Romney’s positions,” she said.
-On funding disparity: Psaki stressed the importance of low-dollar campaign contributions.
“This campaign is still funded by grass roots supporters,” she said. “People who are giving $3, $5, $10. We are incredibly grateful to those people because that’s the reason we can continue to open offices in many states across the country. We also know fundraising is a part of political campaigning and we are not going to compete in this campaign with one arm tied behind our back, which is part of the reason we also need to do fundraisers like the ones we’re having this evening and why we’ve also encouraged people to give to the Democratic super PAC even though we believe Citizens United is a bad precedent and a bad decision.”
With much assistance from Reid Epstein of Politico.
The Wall Street Journal