WH Press Sec talks to press on AF1

Subject: Pool 2 — Carney gaggles in flight

Pool 2 – Carney  gaggles in flight

AF1 is wheels-down in Las Vegas.

Additional travelers with the president aboard AF1 today: Jay Carney, Rob Nabors, Cecilia Munoz and Secs. Napolitano and Salazar.

The staff distributed a fact sheet about the president’s immigration proposal, embargoed for delivery of the speech.

Two senior administration officials gaggled in flight. One, speaking on background, discussed details of the president’s plan. (Pool agreed to an embargo of those remarks until the president gives his speech, so we’ll send them in a subsequent pool report.)

The second sao was Carney, who gaggled early in the flight. The transcript may have already reached you as AF1 was en route to Nevada, but here are some highlights just in case:

*Carney noted this is the first trip of the second term

*Tranportation Sec. Ray LaHood is announcing during the flight today that he is stepping down, statement from the president forthcoming

*President authorized $155 million in new humanitarian assistance to Syria. Many Syrians may not realize this aid comes from the U.S., he said, but “our priority is to get American aid to those in need.” Said new aid is not triggered by any particular level of deterioration, rather by ongoing concern.

*President’s goal today is to “continue a conversation with the American people about the need for comprehensive immigration reform” . . . he will certainly note today the positive signs we’ve seen in Congress, esp the bipartisan plan, “cause for hope,” at a stage that is “positive,” but need to keep pushing until actual legislation is approved.

*Asked if border security had to be tied to the citizenship process in order to actually take effect, Carney answered by listing a raft of border security measures implemented already under Obama. Asked about Republican insistence that the pathway to citizenship not open up until the border is certified secure, and about skepticism among House members, Carney focused instead on the consensus among key lawmakers over the past few days.

The fact that some members, lawmakers “are not entirely supportive at this moment” is not really the news, Carney said. The news, he said, is the progress that has been made towards bipartisan support for these principles and movement by members in the direction of comprehensive immigration reform . . . “We want to build on that momentum.”

*President believes same-sex partners of immigrants should not have to choose between staying with the person they love and staying in the country they love.

*Egypt: closely monitoring and concerned about the violence in Egypt, urge Egyptians to settle things peacefully, “Egyptians need to engage in a peaceful process”

*

Christi Parsons and Mark Landler, co-poolers

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