White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs started the briefing by telling us about an advance staffer for Energy Secretary Chu who had contracted flu in Mexico City.
TAPPER: I have a question and a follow up. Do you have any idea how this individual may have contracted... GIBBS: No. It's -- again, without knowing the precise time in which he began to feel ill on the 16th, we didn't land until the afternoon of the 16th. It's based on the fact that there's an incubation period, you know, it's likely he began to get sick before -- days before the team landed on the day of the visit. TAPPER: And my other question has to do with remarks that Vice President Biden made this morning on television. Representatives of the travel industry have accused the vice president of coming close to fear mongering because of these comments. I'm wondering if you wanted to clarify or correct or apologize for the remarks that he made. GIBBS: Well, I think the -- what the vice president meant to say was the same thing that, begun, many members have said in the last few days. And that is if you feel sick, if you are exhibiting symptoms -- flu-like symptoms, coughing sneezing, runny nose, that you should take precautions, that you should limit your travel, and I think he just -- what he said and what he meant to say. TAPPER: With all due respect, I sympathize with you trying to explain the vice president's comments, but that's not even remotely close to what he said. He was asked about if a members of his family... GIBBS: Look, I understand what he said, and I'm telling you what he meant to say, which was that... (LAUGHTER BY REPORTERS) ... if somebody is experiencing symptoms -- you heard the president say this last night -- iIf somebody is feeling sick, if somebody is exhibiting symptoms of being sick, then they should take all necessary precautions. Obviously, if anybody was unduly alarmed for whatever reason, we -- we would apologize for that. And I hope that my remarks and remarks of people at CDC and Secretary Napolitano have appropriately cleared up what he meant to say.