Today's Qs for O's WH - 6/3/2009

TAPPER: What do you hope average the man on the street in a Muslim country can take away from speech tomorrow? And for Mr. Rhodes, does the president mention at all his father's Muslim’s roots in his speech tomorrow?

DENIS MCDONOUGH, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications: You know I think, I think you've heard the president talk about in course of couple days that he wants Arab and Muslim worlds to get to know a little bit more about America, and America to get to know a little bit more about the Arab and Muslim worlds. I think that the take away will be in the best, in the best circumstances an audience that recognizes that we the United States and they have mutual interests in a range of issues - as it extends from extremists who have killed thousands of Muslims, innocent Muslims just as they did thousands of Americans, including that one day in September when all they wanted to do is go to work.

We’ll underscore our shared interest in the dignity of all people, the opportunities that they have as it relates to health and education. But, the bottom line is I think what you’ll hear, what they’ll hear is has been suggested a great deal of truth-telling about our range of issues and concerns as well as our common mutual interests across the board.

BEN RHODES, Foreign Policy Advisor and Senior Speechwriter: The president I mean will be making a point, the broader point that in some sense and this relates to what Denis said, in some sense we’ve let differences drive a lot of relationships instead of the things we hold in common. And we’ve also let artificial categories emerge, you know, divisions. And Islam in America for instance can’t be divided by definition because Islam is a part of the American story through American Muslims. And of course the president’s family demonstrates that you know there are many Americans, as he said in Ankara, that are either Muslim or have Muslims in their family or can trace their lineage to Islam.

So that is a part of a broader point that again, that we, there’s more convergence of experience and interests than has been acknowledged in the past at times and that we need to build off of that common ground in order to make progress on, on this set of issues.

- jpt

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