Health Care on an Ocean Liner
President reviewed his list of reporters and called them out by name rather than respond to a sea of hands.
(Are these questions previewed?)
Chuck Todd asks what sacrifices Americans should make in this time of economic crisis. President replies that Americans are sacrificing through cutting back or losing their jobs, but he does not address our taste for debt or spending habits. Doesn't want to go down that road.
Chipp Reid ask about the trillion debt that will be passed on to future generations.
President defends by way of saying that they forecast 2.6 percent growth rather than 2.2 as per GOP. He focuses on health Care costs as a major driver of deficit in the future. Growth must be encouraged and health care must be tackled. Investments need to meet growth targets. Budget cuts will include the Pentagon and line by line cutting back of programs that don't work.
Frames government spending via econ. and growth job creation.
Univision ask about violence along Mexico border - is it a national security issue? POTUS responds that he has sent surveillance and officers as of today. Guns and cash need to stop crossing over from U.S.
(Push back on gun lobby here; is Cancun spring break in jeopardy?).
Ed Henry of CNN ask why Cuomo had more traction on AIG than WH from the outset - why no comment earlier. POTUS responds curtly that as a rule he wants to know what he's talking about before he goes public.
(hush now, Ed)
Questions again about deficit spending:
POTUS replies that it takes time to do this and returns to issue of health care costs: tech, prevention, outcomes. He wants to reimburse on improved quality not on number of procedures.
Paints gloomy future if money is not spent: US will be out competed and growth slowed.
Politico's Mike Allen asks if he was following through on reducing the amount that people can deduct on their charity giving. President says he wants to return to '80-'90s rate and disagrees in what charities are saying that it will hurt them. He says that fixing the economy is what is good for charities.
(Call your accountants, people; curious to see how Robin Hood Fundraiser did this year with no Street bonuses to deduct)
Asked about homeless children and his inaugural comment that "help is on the way". Where is the money now? He did not get into specifically, but focused on vets.
Ann Compton of ABC Radio is surprised to be asked on, and goes ahead and asks about race in the last 64 days. Has it been "color blind". POTUS says that he has been completely focused on the economy.
(Ann, really? That is what you are asking now? What a throw away.)
On to Stems cells from somebody else (missed name). POTUS says he "does not have investment in controversy". Does not believe that scientific consensus removes morality from the conversation.
In response to a Brit's question on future of Palestinian/Isreali states he says that new prime minster does not make things easier, but status quo is unacceptable. He has faith in Mitchell's work. Pointed to St. Paddy's day presence of N.Ireland factions together.
POTUS stated that persistence is always the answer, be it the Mid-East, health care, energy and budget.
Then inserts defense of Geithner in response of today's testimony in front of Congress presenting his plan.
POTUS closes in that he is confident that they are heading on the right path, staying with it. Persistence, again
This is a big ocean liner, not a speed boat.
Axlerod is chewing gum in back of room (classy, dude). Emmanuel is grinning at somebody.