I am live blogging the press conference, so refresh for updates.
The President is on and briefing on swine flu. He pretends to read from podium while obviously reading the Teleprompter.
President claims he has saved or created 150,000 jobs – which is it? It’s bull and we know it. He glows about renewed diplomatic efforts. Brags about closing Gitmo and ending torture.
Jennifer asks him about the swine flu and why we haven’t closed border and when we will close the border. Obama blathers for five minutes, now six and gives no real answer other than they are being vigilante. Obama reminds us to wash hands and cover our mouths when we cough. Gee, thanks Mr. President.
Detroit News – asks about auto industry and if bankrupcy is only option for Chrysler. Obama is “hopeful” that Chrysler will be viable and praises unions for all their sacrifices. He is feeling optimistic. With GM, they have another 30 days. Obama thinks they will be competitive and would love to get government out of auto industry as soon as possible. Yeah right! His goal is to have a strong and viable auto industry. Hardship ahead for workers and their families and federal government will provide as much assistance as needed.
Jake Tapper asks if previous administration sanctioned torture since Obama thinks waterboarding is torture. He says, “Yes” and says we could have gotten information in other ways consistant with our values. What those values are exactly I do not know, nor do I know what Obama’s ideas on torture really are because waterboarding is so far from torture it is unbelieveable this big deal has been made. He claims we are safer in the long term. At the same time, it takes away a recriutment tool for terrorists. They don’t need recruitment tools, Mr. President. We are Americans and that is all they need for recruitment.
Chuck Todd – Can Obama reassure America that we can protect Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal? Obama is gravely concerned because the civilian government is very fragile. He says we need to help Pakistanis. Wants to recognize Pakistan’s sovereignty.
Question on change in policy to Iraq since violence seems to have escalated. Obama said deaths remain low despite stories of bombings and the political system is holding. This is why he wants a gradual withdrawal.
*snore* Sorry I fell asleep.
Chip Reid asks about Arlen Specter’s jump and if this means there will be one party rule and what this says about Republicans. Obama says he really respects Specter ( How could anyone knowing now that Specter is an unprincipled man?) Obama says his vote for the Pork bill was very sensible. He does realize that he does not have a rubber stamp for his desires because not all Democrats agree with him. To his Republican friends, he wants them to realize his reaching out has been genuine – nothing Obama does is genuine. What a joke! He pleaded with Mitch McConnell that just because they don’t agree 100%, they shouldn’t reject Obama’s ideas all the time. Obama has never accepted any ideas from the Republicans.
Obama is asked about his speaking engagement set for Notre Dame and how he feels about abortion and the Freedom of Choice Act. Obama says abortion is a moral issue and an ethical issue. He claims to be consistant and is pro-choice because women are in a better position to make the choice. He had no problem making that choice about infanticide. He wants to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. He has a task force (of course) that is working with groups in pro-choice and pro-life camps for a concensus. He believes women should have right to choose and thinks we should focus on areas where we agree to “tamp down” anger.
What has surprised, troubled, enchanted and humbled him the most in past 100 days? Obama has to write down question and everyone laughs – ha ha, he’s such a funny guy. He’s surprised at the number of things all coming to a head at once. The thing that has troubled him is that change in Washington comes slow and that there is bickering and postering even in big crisises and wishes there were less games. This coming from the prime game player. He’s been enchanted by our service men and women and is profoundly proud of them and comments on what a great job they do and their loyalty/ Too bad he doesn’t really feel that way. He has been humbled by the fact that the presidency is extraordinarily powerful, but just a part of the broader America. He can’t just push a button and have the bankers do what he wants – but he sure has tried to be Dictator and sure seems to be running most everything. Ten years, twenty years from now our kids will look back and point to this time being when we finally got serious about energy and healthcare, etc. No, they will look back and wonder what was worth giving up our freedom and piling the debt on top of them.
Questions about immigration reform and McCain’s name comes up. The President would like to partner with McCain on this. President wants to move this process. This keeps undocumented workers in the shadows. Undocumented workers?! He can’t say illegal! He wants to lay groundwork so American people will have confidence and then he throws out Napalitano’s name and he comments on how she will be able to secure our borders because of her experience as a border Governor. He doesn’t want to just run raids on companies. Keeps talking about building our confidence.
Question on black unemployment rate, what policies will target these communities and when will we see results? Obama wants us to keep in mind the government is helping everybody and mentions extending unemployment insurance. College affordability and tax cuts for everybody but the poor should help black people live the American dream/
Time Magazine – What is Obama’s opinion on State Secrets? Obama wants to modify State Secret Doctrine. It is appropriate to say that national security is at stake and you can’t litigate without revealing things that would compromise our safety and they are searching for ways to redact to bring out information without it being in open court,
Last question – Obama is chief shareholder of housing companies and pretty soon auto companies so what is his role? He says we should be looking to get out. He doesn’t want to run car companies and banks and the sooner they can get out better. Guess that is why they are taking the money back from the banks – oh wait, they are rejecting the repayments. He believes America should have a functioning auto industry and doesn’t want them to have an umbilical cord, but restructuring is a good thing and that the government has been appropriate. As soon as they are stable they will find some private buyers. He doesn’t want to micromanage, but taxpayers need to know what is going on with their money. He says he is not an auto engineer – that’s for sure, but he still wants them to do what he wants like building plug-in cars. The problem is legacy costs he claims – umm, those would be from the unions you love, Mr. President.
He claims he would like lean government – what a joke! And then he exits leaving poor Helen Thomas in the front row without having let her ask an inane question.