ABC News' Karen Travers reports:
Health care dominated the morning briefing with White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, who denied reports that the White House and Democrats are giving up on a bipartisan reform bill.
“Absolutely not,” Gibbs said. “We continue to be hopeful that we can get bipartisan support and will continue to work with those that are interested in doing that.”
“Our goal is to get this done in a bipartisan way,” he said. “There are several more weeks to go in potential negotiations between Republicans and Democrats. I don’t know why we would short circuit any of that now.”
Gibbs said if that were the intention, he would go on vacation. “I don’t know why on August 19 we would declare on something that would be voted on in either September or October that the possibility is only 51 votes,” he said.
The president’s spokesman said Mr. Obama would “orbit the moon” if he thought it would help bring progress in health care reform .
“He would get in a rocket and fly to the moon if that’s what it would take to get everyone together,” he said.
Asked about how the White House will keep control of the debate while the president is on vacation next week, Gibbs said there are no events on the president’s schedule next week and he doesn’t anticipate Obama breaking his vacation to do any health care related events. He said the White House will still have a weekly address and rely on surrogates to keep their message out there and the president will continue to check in with the key players, especially members of the Senate Finance Committee.
North Korea/Richardson Meeting Gibbs deferred questions about the agenda for Gov. Richardson’s meeting with the North Korean delegation.
“They’re not here on behalf of the administration, that’s a question for Gov. Richardson,” he said.