From FNC’s Kimberly Schwandt:
*Off-cam AF1 gaggle from Brussels to Rome w/ Carney and Rhodes.
We should get a transcript in a bit.
*SECRET SERVICE: President was briefed on Secret Service situation – reiterated everyone representing the US needs to hold selves to highest standards and supports director’s approach – zero tolerance.
ACA/BOEHNER: Said Boehner under GWBush treated medicare part d extension – only difference is online. Compares it to when you vote – if you’re in line when polls close, you still get to vote.
*MORE UKRAINE: Ben Rhodes gave a further readout of what the president said and did today and if he’s doing a re-focus to Europe.
These aren’t exact but close. Carney went first and touched on the Secret Service and ACA. Rhodes es came in to sweep up on Ukraine, US/Europe relations and a preview of the Pope visit.
He was briefed. And I would refer you to the Secret Service in Washington and say generally, the President believes as he’s said in the past that everyone representing the US needs to hold themselves to the highest standards and he supports the directors approach, the zero tolerance approach on these matters.
Boehner’s remarks on ACA extension?
Speaker Boehner at the time under GWB treated the extension of the Medicare part D enrollment for certain populations compared to the response he’s given today. The only thing that has changed is that those individuals that have have begun the process of applying online by the deadline which remain March 31st will continue the process.
It’s very similar to what happens when you vote. If your in line when the polls close you still get to vote. I wish the speaker was more focused on what would happen if his agenda of appeal became a reality which is millions and millions of Americans who are demonstrating in huge numbers that want to avail themselves to the products of health care.gov would be out of luck and the insurance companies would be back in charge.
Is there a Rasmussen readout?
The briefly touched on Afghanistan and NATO’s ongoing efforts as we transition to end our combat mission later this year and prepare for the upcoming summit in Wales. Clearly the focus of the discussion was on Ukraine and how we was sure NATO allies especially those in eastern Europe. We have already taken steps with the Balken over flights and Polish avaiton detachment.
Going forward we will be increasing our ground and naval forces to NATO allies to compliment those aviation deployments. The US is prepared to join those commitments.
These won’t be US unilateral actions these will be taken in concert with NATO.
Is there a Refocus on Europe?
On the security side, this is an ongoing process of NATO eassurance and planning. This will unfold over a period of weeks and we want to make sure that our Eastern European allies are reassured and that will be manifested in the way we cooperate with the exercises we do and the types of deployments we undertake. But we already have NATO so this is operation in an existing framework that exists on part for this purpose, part to provide for Article 5 of this alliance.
Concretely you are going to see a significant amount of economic assistance for Ukraine. The US portion of that includes our one billion dollar loan guarantee that we are working to finalize with Congress. We’ve indicated additional technically assistance.
There is a very large economic package that is being finalized that will indicate the seriousness our support for the Ukraine and it’s economy . Other European countries have stepped up to make multi billion dollar commitments to Ukraine if you add that up. So the point is it will manifest itself in both the NATO reassurance but also in the support of the Ukrainian people and government.
We have always been invested in Europe and they are the cornerstone in everything we have done. If you look at what the President said in Germany, what he said in Westminister, we’ve always seen our European allies as the cornerstone of what we do in the world. That doesn’t mean we aren’t going to focus on other regions.
The President is going to Asia next month, he’s going twice this year. We are working on an ambitions trade agreement this year. We are very involved with our Japanese and Korean allies whine just met with confronting the threat put forth by North Korea. We are very involved in Southeast Asian nations in efforts to refuse maritime disputes.
But Europe needs to come together and face this issue in terms of what the Russians have done. It’s not just what we are doing for Europe it’s what Europe and the Americans are doing together to confront Russian aggression. To be willing to move to the type of sanctions that already have had a cost on the Russian and to support the Ukrainian people.
So is there a new focus on Europe?
There is a significant new focus on the fact that Russia just invaded Ukraine. So it’s not about the fact we weren’t paying attention to Europe it about the fact we now have a European country that’s been invaded by Russia.
You always welcome the opportunity to meet with the Pope. But in particular, the President like many people, has been inspired the first year that Pope Francis has had. By the way he has motivated people around the world, by his message of inclusion and equality which has deep meaning for people both of the Catholic faith but people of different faiths all over the world. So I think it’s an opportunity for them to get to know each other personally, to hear from the Pope what he’s been doing around the world and really for the President thank the Pope for his leadership on a range of challenges that he has highlighted in his first year.