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Posts Tagged ‘White House Spokesman’
Wednesday, November 25th, 2015
The Idiot Biden to Obama Today: “This is a Big Fucking Deal”; UPDATE: Gibbs Concurs, Withholds Apology
Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010
Just as President Obama was set to take to the microphone today to discuss his historic signing of Obamacare, at 11:37AM today the bumbling Vice President Joe Biden once again disgraced himself by audibly stating to the President that “this is a big fucking deal”, to which Obama giggled and responded “Thanks”. Those statements are clearly audible when the video is turned up to a high volume, and are sure to provide fodder for late night comedians for weeks to come:
The fact that the top two federal officials in the American government consider it appropriate to share such course language just two feet away from an open microphone calls into question, once again, the competence of the present leadership of our country. Apparently decorum and good manners have no place in the Obama Administration as at the ultimate moment of triumph, in front of the entire world, our Vice President feels it appropriate to use such course and inappropriate language and our President sanctions same with his approving response.
Many Americans will be offended by the use of such language, and questions are sure to arise in the coming days as to why Biden chose such offensive language at this historic moment and further why Obama did not immediately condemn Biden’s inapprpriate use of such language. At a minimum, this incident shows an apparent lack of respect for the offices of the Vice Presidency and Presidency held by their current occupants.
UPDATE: Many media organizations have now confirmed the Vice President’s aforementioned use of offensive language in front of the entire world as he and the President stood before the microphones today. White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs even tweeted to weigh in, confirming Biden’s use of the inappropriate language and essentially concurring. It is indeed a sad day in America when the White House feels no need to apologize for the use of such language while the entire world is watching but instead sanctions its use after the fact:
Fox News was first to report that Vice President Joe Biden may have dropped an F-bomb during the signing of the Health Care bill in the White House today, and to be honest, we missed it. But upon closer inspection, yes, he did. After giving a short warm-up speech in advance of President Obama’s speech, Biden turned to embrace the President and said “this is a big f*cking deal!” (At about the 20 second mark.)
Update: Pres Secretary Robert Gibbs responds on Twitter: “And yes Mr. Vice President, you’re right…” So maybe they’re hoping to brush this off with a health dose of good humor.
Monday, March 15th, 2010
President Barack Obama has flip flopped today, embracing the kind of backroom deals he campaigned against in 2008 and even recently condemned in the Senate health care package, as he heads to Ohio to begin the final push to gain passage of his massive comprehensive health care reform plan known as Obamacare. The fact that Obama has decided to accept these unpopular, backroom special interest deals at this critical moment regarding the signature initiative of his Presidency could come to define the Obama brand for years to come. Indeed, Specific pork in the Obamacare package intended to purchase votes, such as those of Dem. Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), Dem. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CN) and Dem. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), will now remain in the final Obamacare package to be voted upon by the House of Representatives this week:
WASHINGTON – Still seeking votes for his proposed health care overhaul, President Barack Obama appears ready to reverse his position and allow unpopular deal-sweetening measures in the hopes of finding Democratic support for legislation whose future will be decided in coming days.
Taking a new position, Axelrod said the White House only objects to state-specific arrangements, such as an increase in Medicaid funding for Nebraska, ridiculed as the “Cornhusker Kickback.” That’s being cut, but provisions that could affect more than one state are OK, Axelrod said.
That means deals sought by senators from Montana and Connecticut would be fine — even though Gibbs last week singled them out as items Obama wanted removed. There was resistance, however, from two committee chairman, Democratic Sens. Max Baucus of Montana and Chris Dodd of Connecticut, and the White House has apparently backed down.
It appears that the claims of White House spokesman Robert Gibbs regarding the need to remove the special pork-laden deals for individual Democratic senators were designed solely to win a news cycle from the compliant establishment media, not actually improve the Obamacare legislation by removing such backroom deals. At the end of the day, the only change to the 100’s of pages of special interest pork in Obamacare to be made is the extension of the special Medicare deal for Nebraska, known as the “Cornhusker Kickback”, to all states, which, of course, will increase the amount of federal deficit spending that will result if Obamacare passes.
In Ohio, instead of focusing on the substance of the Obamacare legislation, or the special backroom deals he allegedly wants to remove from same, President Obama will focus on the individual story of Natoma Canfield and try to use that person’s misfortune to sell his policies to America:
Meanwhile, the White House tried to increase public pressure on Congress to pass the legislation. Obama planned to visit Strongsville, Ohio, home of cancer patient Natoma Canfield, who wrote the president she gave up her health insurance after it rose to $8,500 a year. Obama repeatedly has cited that letter from a self-employed cleaning worker who lives in the Cleveland suburb to illustrate the urgency of the massive overhaul.
Canfield’s sister, Connie Anderson, was scheduled to introduce Obama at that event.
This use of individual anecdote was the same strategy employed by Obama and the Democrats at the health care summit a few weeks ago, and the benefit of this strategy is to allow Obama to make an emotional appeal without focusing too much on the quite ugly realities of the legislative language itself (such as the payoffs to Baucus and Dodd) and the even ugilier realities of the procedural trickery to be used by Democrats this week in the House (“Slaughter Solution”) and the Senate (reconciliation).
Politico confirmed just now that the “Slaughter Solution” is now being pushed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for use on the Obamacare package to allow the House to “deem” the bill passed without actually voting on it:
The so-called solution, named for House Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), would “deem” the Senate bill passed if House Democrats approve a package of fixes.
In other words, House members wouldn’t have to formally cast a vote on a bill that most of them don’t want to defend on the campaign trail — but it would pass anyway.
The speaker told her rank and file Friday that the decision was still up in the air but she thought this was the way most of her members wanted to handle the Senate bill.
The Newsweek article by David Stone from Friday, March 12, 2010 which strongly condemned any move to use the “Slaughter Solution”, excerpted by CentristNet here, has now been pulled from Newsweek’s site, clearly indicating that the establishment media is circling the wagons and set to push the “Slaughter Solution” over the finish line. Indeed, the talking points released by Democrats on Friday refer to such issues as the arguably unconstitutional “Slaughter Solution” and the use of reconciliation in the Senate as “inside baseball” and not worthy of discussion with the public. Considering Obama is starting the week by flip flopping on the sweetheart, backroom deals in Obamacare, whether the public catches on to the unprecedented procedural trickery planned in the House and Senate could determine the fate of the bill.
According to Heritage and Philip Klein, this is a shell bill, not the actual proposed reconciliation bill. It’s a copy of the version from last autumn. Later this week, the House will gut this version and replace it with their new ObamaCare fixes. However, the student loan nationalization will remain in the bill, so it’s not entirely old hat.
Gibbs Fibs re Slaughter Solution, Claims House Will “Pass the Underlying Senate Bill” and Then Take up Fixes
Sunday, March 14th, 2010
Despite White House and Congressional Democratic leadership support for a single, final House vote on Obamacare, in an incredible display of intentionally misleading statements by a federal official, White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs today declared that the House will pass the “underlying Senate bill” next week, and that it will be signed by the President and then “corrective” bills will be passed through the House and Senate to “fix” the language of the Senate bill. Gibbs even explicitly murmured “right” and “yes, sir” and nodded as CBS’s Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer stated his understanding that the House must pass and President must sign the Senate bill before any “fixes” could be passed:
BOB SCHIEFFER: A– as I understand it, and– and the parliamentarians seemed to have ruled that the House is going to have to pass the bill that the Senate passed.
ROBERT GIBBS: Right.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And then the President is going to have to sign that before the House votes on this so-called reconciliation package. It’s going to correct all those things they don’t like in
this Senate bill.
ROBERT GIBBS: Yes, sir.
Gibbs then continues after Schieffer pushed Gibbs on whether the Senate actually pass the “corrections” to the then-passed Obamacare:
ROBERT GIBBS: Yeah. Well, again, we’ve– we’ve worked with leaders in the Senate. We’ve talked to members of the Senate. The President has. And, look, members of the House, the President, and members of the Senate want to see some of those corrections made in– in that legislation. I– I think this is going to happen. Again, I think the House will have passed the Senate bill a week from today. We’ll be working now next on getting those corrections passed by both the House and the Senate. And we’ll have health care reform in this country.
These statements were made by the top White House spokesman despite actions of the White House and Congressional Democrats, who are planning to “deem” the Senate bill passed via a parliamentary trick known as the “Slaughter Solution,” named after the House Democrat who is the author of this unprecedented procedure, House Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY). Obama worshipper and Newsweek journalist David Stone explains the Democratic trickery to avoid an actual up or down vote on the Senate bill in the House:
In a perfect case study of how dramatic Washington can get on a Friday afternoon, attention on health care appears to have shifted from when the final vote will be (next week?) to the possibility of a new parliamentary procedure to greenlight the bill. At issue is what’s being dubbed the “Slaughter solution,” which, in a roundabout way, would let the House pass the Senate bill without actually voting on it.
Here’s how: Rep. Louise Slaughter is chair of the House Rules committee, and as such, figured out that the House could momentarily change its rules to say that the House doesn’t need to pass the Senate bill since both bills are pretty similar anyway (in that they’re about the same subject). That way, Democratic members reticent about voting for the Senate bill technically wouldn’t have to be on record voting for it. They would just have to vote not to stop it from passing. It’s effectively a shift from active passage of the bill to passive. Then, after this rule passed, the Senate bill would go straight to the president, he would sign it, and then both chambers would start working on a few fixes through reconciliation.
The Obamaphile journalist David Stone concludes it is ludicrous to think the Democrats would actually do this, despite Democratic House Rules Chairwoman Slaughter’s explicit plans to do so, as reported by the non-partisan Congress Daily:
House Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter is prepping to help usher the healthcare overhaul through the House and potentially avoid a direct vote on the Senate overhaul bill, the chairwoman said Tuesday.
Slaughter is weighing preparing a rule that would consider the Senate bill passed once the House approves a corrections bill that would make changes to the Senate version.
Even left wing MSNBC journalist and former longtime Capitol Hill staffer (and veteran of the Hillarycare battle) Lawrence O’Donnell noted that the “Slaughter Solution” of “deeming” the Senate bill passed via rule-based trickery and then only holding a vote on the “fixes” to the Senate bill is an “unprecedented” maneuver in the legislative history of the United States that attempts to “amend a ghost” of an non-passed bill. The entire uncut O’Donnell appearance on Morning Joe on March 12, 2010 can be seen here. O’Donnell notes the “unprecedented” nature of the Democrats’ plan to switch gears after Scott Brown’s Senate victory and pursue reconciliation to pass Obamacare:
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Will Democrats get health care passed?
LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: I’m going to say what I’ve said all along in my humble approach to this subject. I, having worked on this kind of legislation on the Senate floor, trying to get it passed, and in committee. I do not see how they can do this. Now, and part of that is because it’s never been done before. And they have moved into a legislative territory that has never previously existed. The Republicans have not been very smart about trying to describe this. It’s difficult to describe. But this is unprecedented, using reconciliation this way. Because what they’ve done, is that they’ve abandoned a bill in mid-conference. The Senate passed a bill, the House passed a bill. They were in mid-conference negotiating this bill, in conference, and they said it’s going to be impossible for us to pass it now because of Scott Brown, so we’re going to abandon conferencing this bill and move over to another legislative vehicle, called reconciliation. To handle something you’ve already been legislating another way, now, that’s never occurred before.
SCARBOROUGH: That’s never happened?
O’DONNELL: Never, never, never.
Such emphatic condemnation of the Democratic endgame strategy to pursue the “amend the ghost” trickery in the House and reconciliation in the Senate to pass Obamacare from an explicitly left wing ideologue like O’Donnell is a bright red flag for centrists and independents. Perhaps Newsweek’s David Stone is correct in saying that it is “hard to imagine a scenario in which such a process would actually fly.” Left-leaning The Hill concurs that the “Slaughter Solution” is a “sneaky, slimy sleight-of-hand” and that no one will be “fooled by this.”
The talking points distributed by House Democratic leadership on Friday, which Robert Gibbs and the White House were undoubtedly privy to and approved of prior to their release, make it clear that “Slaughter Solution” is part of the endgame plan to pass Obamacare:
The Van Hollen memo also advised members to avoid talking about the process.
“At this point, we have to just rip the band-aid off and have a vote — up or down; yes or no? Things like reconciliation and what the rules committee does is INSIDE BASEBALL,” the memo says. “People who try and start arguments about process on this are almost always against the actual policy substance too, often times for purely political reasons.”
Leadership expects a CBO score on the reconciliation package by today or Monday. No decisions have been made on how the final process will unfold on the House floor, the memo says. So it appears Democrats are still grappling with whether they can use the process to pass the Senate bill without voting directly on the bill. Many Democrats view the Senate bill’s deals and policies as a toxic political mix that they would rather not endorse without first making changes to it.
Tellingly, Gibbs concludes his interview by stating that only one House vote will be required, impliedly accepting the “Slaughter Solution” and explicitly contradicting his earlier agreement with Schieffer that two House votes would be required, one to pass the Senate bill and another to pass the “corrections” to the Senate bill:
ROBERT GIBBS: –I– I do think this is the– I do think this is the climactic week for health care reform. And like I said I– I think whoever you interview just this time next week, you won’t be talking about a proposal in the House. You’ll be talking about the House having passed that proposal and us being a signature away from health care reform in this country.
As this is the “climatic week for health care reform” it is truly unfortunate that procedural trickery such as the “Slaughter Solution” and reconciliation are being pursued by the Democrats on such an important piece of legislation, even in the face of criticism by left-leaning journalist allies like Newsweek, MSNBC and The Hill. Unfortunately, the NYT and Washington Post have not touched the “Slaughter Solution” controversy to date, and the major networks are ignoring it as well, so outright misrepresentations like Gibbs’s claims on Face the Nation today will probably continue to slide under the radar until the deed is done as planned by the Obama Administration and the Congressional Democratic leadership.
Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010
Tensions have been running high between the progressive left, which is agitating for the inclusion of the public option in Obamacare if passed via reconciliation, and the White House, which omitted any reference to the public option in the 11 page Obama Health Plan issued yesterday. This afternoon, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs sparked an escalation of those tensions with his comment confirming the death of the public option as ““[t]here isn’t enough political support in the majority to get this through.” This is the most explicit the White House has ever been about the lack of hope for the public option under any circumstances, as notes former TPM lefty blogger, now WaPo blogger, Greg Sargent:
At the press briefing just now, Robert Gibbs made the White House’s most expansive comments yet about the push for a reconciliation vote on the public option — and, to put it mildly, supporters won’t find them encouraging.
Gibbs said flatly that the White House doesn’t believe there’s enough support in Congress to get it passed.
Asked directly whether the President’s failure to include the public option in his proposal means he views the public option as dead, Gibbs didn’t exactly dispute this interpretation.
“There are some that are supportive of this,” Gibbs said. But he added: “There isn’t enough political support in the majority to get this through.”
“The President took the Senate bill as the base and looks forward to discussing consensus ideas on Thursday,” Gibbs added, presumably meaning that the public option is not a consensus idea.
It’s unclear why Gibbs is deciding in advance that there isn’t enough support to pass this idea. Momentum has been gathering for days. It’s also very likely that it would continue to gain steam if Obama racks up a victory at the summit and Dems press forward with plans to pass reform themselves via reconciliation.
But Gibbs’s statement seems likely, willfully or not, to slow that momentum in advance.
The progressive left has been pushing Democratic Senators to sign a pledge to vote for the public option in recent days, with blogs such as TPM and Daily Kos leading the way alongside political groups like the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (“PCCC”). PCCC’s reaction to Gibbs’ comment was swift condemnation of the White House as having a “loser mentality – but America rallies around winners.” PCCC Spokesman Adam Green’s statement, via Sargent:
“The White House obviously has a loser mentality — but America rallies around winners. Polls show that in state after state, voters hate the Senate bill and overwhelmingly want a public option, even if passed with zero Republican votes. More than 50 Senate Democrats and 218 House Democrats were willing to vote for the public option before, and the only way to lose in reconciliation is if losers are leading the fight. That’s why Democrats in Congress should ignore the White House and follow those like Chuck Schumer and Robert Menendez who know that the public option is a political and policy winner.”
As the Obama Administration struggles to paint the GOP as ideological obstructionists who refuse to compromise, this burgeoning fight between the progressive left and the Obama Administration is an unwelcome distraction. Indeed, as the White House is now active disagreement with the over 20 Senate Democrats who have signed the public option pledge and the progressive left, the credibility of Administration to attack the GOP as obstructionists could be declining as even the Democrats themselves cannot agree upon what their health care package should consist of. Indeed, Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid’s comment today that the GOP should “stop crying” over the use of reconciliation could perhaps be better applied to the progressive left regarding the public option. Centrists around America remain hopeful that a true bipartisan compromise can be reached between the parties instead of the use of reconciliation on the largest health care reform package in American history.
UPDATE: The New York Daily News picks up on the “loser mentality” slam on the White House by the PCCC:
Liberals took a brutal whack at the White House this afternoon — suggesting “losers are leading” the health care fight — after President Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs declared “there isn’t enough political support” to pass a public health insurance option.
“The White House obviously has a loser mentality — but America rallies around winners,” said Adam Green, a co-founder of the group Progressive Change Campaign Committee.
“Polls show that in state after state, voters hate the Senate bill and overwhelmingly want a public option, even if passed with zero Republican votes,” Green said. “More than 50 Senate Democrats and 218 House Democrats were willing to vote for the public option before.”
Green and company have mounted a surprisingly effective campaign over the last week to get Democratic senators to to sign on to a push to pass a public option through the 51-vote budget reconciliation loophole. So far, 23 senators have backed it, including New York Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer and New Jersey Sens. Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg.
“The only way to lose in reconciliation is if losers are leading the fight,” Green fumed about Gibbs and the White House. “That’s why Democrats in Congress should ignore the White House and follow those like Chuck Schumer and Robert Menendez who know that the public option is a political and policy winner.”
UPDATE #2: Hotair points out that, putting aside the public option debate, the Number 2 House Democrat, Steny Hoyer, is publicly stating he’s not sure the House can pass Obamacare. AP has Steny’s comment:
“We may not be able to do all. I hope we can do all, a comprehensive piece of legislation that will provide affordable, accessible, quality health care to all Americans,” Hoyer said at his weekly media briefing. “But having said that, if we can’t, then you know me — if you can’t do a whole, doing part is also good. I mean there are a number of things I think we can agree on.”
Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010
Despite the indisputable fact that the Republican Party posted its health care plan on gop.gov in October 2009, and the fact that the White House website itself has a link to the GOP plan, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer authored a blog post at 5am this morning smearing the GOP for not providing a health care plan prior to the vaunted health care summit set for Thursday. Yesterday, lead White House spokesman made a similar statement, imploring the GOP to post their plan online.
One can only wonder if Pfeiffer and Gibbs planned this one-two misleading punch in advance or if it is just a comedy of errors. Politico’s Chris Frates sets the record straight yesterday, after Gibbs’ comment, regarding the availability online of the GOP health care plan, entitled “Gibbs may need to read the White House website more closely”:
During today’s press briefing, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said he hoped that Republicans would post their reform plans online.
“The president posted ideas of his on the White House website today. We hope Republicans will post their ideas either on their website, or we’d be happy to post them on ours, so that the American people could come to one location and find out the parameters of what will largely be discussed on Thursday,” Gibbs said.
Turns out the House Republicans’ plan has been online since October and already has its own link on the White House website. The White House encourages readers to “read more about House and Senate ideas from both parties on their websites.” The link sends readers to a House GOP website that includes a one-page summary sheet and the legislative text of their proposals.
Pfeiffer’s headline is truly Orwellian, considering the fact that the GOP plan has been online since October 2009: “Will the Republicans Post Their Health Plan… and When?” The mainstream media, other than this lone article by Frates at Politico, appears to be giving Pfeiffer and Gibbs a pass on their explicitly false and misleading statements about the alleged lack of a posted GOP health care plan. Instead, ABC’s Rick Klein calls Pfeiffer’s post a “dare” while ignoring the false and misleading statements, and Time’s Mark Halperin simply notes that the White House “pounces” with the Pfeiffer post. The Hill.com’s Michael O’Brien goes so far as to spin the obviously false and misleading statements by Pfeiffer and Gibbs on behalf of the White House (Dems “forced GOP Leaders’ hand” to submit the House bill, the GOP Senators “never crafted” a plan because it relies on “series of piecemeal bills and amendments submitted by different senators”). Of course, no Republicans are sought out and quoted in response to the Gibbs or Pfeiffer false and misleading claims by the mainstream media authors listed above.
Not a single article by any mainstream media organization (besides Frates’s article above) notes that the GOP has had a health care plan posted online at gop.gov since October 2009, let alone mention that the Whitehouse.gov website has posted a link to it. Instead, the media is pushing the narrative that the the White House has instructed them to push: The GOP has no plan, and the White House desperately wants to cut a bipartisan deal, but cannot because of the GOP’s lack of a plan. It is amazing to see the American media so compliant and agreeable to repost Obama’s talking points, especially considering the indisputable facts disprove those talking points explicitly. This failure of the media to report facts (GOP plan posted since October 2009, White House site has link to same), and report of talking points instead (Pfeiffer and Gibbs: Where’s the GOP plan?), on this issue is likely foreshadowing of the coverage we’ll see of Thursday’s health care summit, as it appears the establishment media is fully on board with Obama in his last ditch push to ram Obamacare through Congress.