White House Briefing Live-blog [Jan. 26, 2009]

Update/Closing thoughts (14:34):  Hearst columnist Helen Thomas continues to make a cartoon of herself in her using her perch to parrot ultra-left-wing talking points. Her question today was on why President Obama wants to send troops into Afghanistan to "kill more people."Without doubt it was the loopiest left-wing question posed today. Oddly enough, given her history of bias, one of the best queries today came from April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks, who questioned the wisdom of pegging hopes of economic recovery on so-called "green jobs."

About to live-blog the White House daily press briefing. I'm focusing chiefly on the questions from the journalists. I'm watching via Fox News.

13:42: Gibbs: our e-mail system isn't working so well, apologizes for that to press corps. 

Questions from reporters follow:

13:44, female reporter: Can you describe a little more fully about Amb. Rice's comments on mid-east diplomacy

13:45, female reporter: So you can't say when the diplomacy [with Iran] will begin or how?

13:46, Chuck Todd, NBC News: When are you guys going to announce a housing plan? Where is the money? Is it part of TARP?

13:47,Todd's followup: Does that mean it will not be part of the $350 billion?

13:48, Todd: Going to encourage banks to lend more?

13:48, female reporter: What kind of relationship does President Obama hope to have with China? Cites Geithner comment in testimony about China that irked officials in Beijing. Could you talk about what kind of relationship he wants with Beijing on economic, security, other issues?

13:50, same female reporter: But theBush administration avoided using that terminology [that Geithner used] because of the trade action that implies.

13:51, Jake Tapper notes that CitiGroup is spending $50million on a new corporate jet. Asks, does the Obama administration have a position of if they should refrain from expenses such as these? Also asks about the Obama announcement today, one of the reasons CAFE standards haven't happened is it will hurt ailing auto industry. How can President Obama ensure the move won't cost jobs?

13:56, Ed Henry: Clearly a majority of Congress thought that was smart move, but that was before automakers were tanking.

Gibbs: I think you could make a case that it's time to update fuel efficiency standards to create a product more appealing to the American consumer...

13:57, Henry: Does the president believe its time to move forward on this even though there are automakers in trouble?

13:57, Henry again: The president today said again--

Gibbs cuts Henry off

13:58, Henry: Could you define what is a green job. He keeps using the term, people don't seem to know what it is.

13:59, Henry: Well, how's he going to create a million of them

Gibbs: Windmills...

14:00, female reporter: The president wants bipartisan support for his economic package. Two questions. What changes is the president willing to make to accomodate Republicans? How many votes constitutes bipartisan support? Half of Republicans? A third? A tenth? 

14:04, female reporter: Is tomorrow a negotiating session [with Republicans]? What's the goal?

14:05, Major Garrett, Fox News: Asks question about standards on evaluating war on terror detainees.

Gibbs: The answers to these questons are a prudent review process will be put in place by executive order to determine who's there, determine their profile. Case files are in different places. A prudent process will be put in place to make prudent decisions...

14:07, Garrett's follow up question about how the process can guarantee American safety here and overseas.

14:07, Garrett: Friday when the president said I won and when he talked about Limbaugh, what did he mean by those statements.

14:10, Chip Reid, CBS News: What's his mindset in meeting the Republicans? Is he just seeking their vote, is he just open-minded, or willing to change some things to get Republican votes?

14:11, Reid: will he make significant changes to get Republicans on board?

14:11, male reporter: Will you make second bailout request or wait til entire $350[billion] is dispersed?

14:12, same male reporter: without prejudging it, is there a second package in the works?

14:12, another male reporter: Does the president believe there's a sincere effort by the Republicans? Can Republicans be accomodated or is this some degree of kabuki theater we're seeing here?

14:14, female reporter on ideas to save auto industry with govt. incentives.

14:17, same female reporter: Does the Obama administration believe auto industry needs more money?

14:18, Helen Thomas: Why does the president want to send more troops to Afghanistan to kill people?

14:19: Why?

Gibbs: We have terrorists there... we are going to make sure Afghanistan doesn't deteriorate further.

14:19, male reporter question on spending.

14:21,male reporter follow up

14:21, Mara Liasson, NPR: Can you go further on that, on TARP whether the president is leaning on requiring or encouraging the funds to be used to go to lending?

14:22, Liasson: Haven't decided on the tool to use to encourage that?

14:22, Liasson: Are you committed to fighting to keep the proportion of tax cuts to spending?

14:23, Liasson: Has he tried to get Republican support?

14:23, Liasson: Is he committed to defending the proportion, is it a minimum?

14:24, Chris Cillizza, Washington Post :Robert, on the announcements this morning, did the president consult with vp Gore? Is it an official or unofficial role for the vice president in this idea?

14:25: How are military brass, including Petraeus reacting to the 16-month Iraq withdrawal plan now that Obama is president.

14:27, Mark Knoller of CBS Radio: Does the president believe or support expanded production of oil?

14:28, April Ryan, American Urban Radio Networks: Is it realistic for 1 million green jobs when consumers aren't opting for solar energy and the projects are costly and take years to come?

14:30, switching to CNN as Fox News cut away. question by foreign reporter: Any statement on India?

14:30, female reporter:  Some gest that is Wesley Snipes were Treasury nominee, wouldn't be in jail now.. but... shouldn't  be asking IRS to be more lenient to more Americans in the future who say,  I didn't know,I'm sorry

Gibbs replies: Geithner admitted he made honest mistakes that could and should have been avoided.

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Taxes Congress Economy Environment Banking/Finance Bailouts Government & Press Obama Watch Timothy Geithner Chris Cillizza Chip Reid Ed Henry April Ryan Robert Gibbs Major Garrett Chuck Todd