Today’s Qs for O’s WH – 8/4/2009

TAPPER: A couple questions. One, is it your contention -- is it the White House contention that the anger that some members of Congress are experiencing at town hall meetings, especially over health care reform, is manufactured?

GIBBS: I think some of it is, yes. In fact, I think you've had groups today, Conservatives for Patients Rights, that have bragged about organizing and manufacturing that anger.

TAPPER: How is their organizing and getting people to come to town hall meetings and express their feelings any different from a liberal group doing the same thing?

GIBBS: Well, I think what you've seen is they have -- they have bragged about -- about manufacturing, to some degree, that anger. I think you've got somebody who's very involved, a leader of that group that's very involved in -- in the status quo, a CEO that used to run a health care company that was fined by the federal government $1.7 billion for fraud. I think that's a lot of what you need to know about the motives of that group.

TAPPER: OK. And AIPAC just issued a statement saying they're deeply disappointed by the Obama administration's choice to award a presidential Medal of Freedom to Mary Robinson, and they respectfully call on the administration to firmly, fully and publicly repudiate her views on Israel and her long public record of hostility and one-sided bias against the Jewish state. Do you guys have any comment about that or any other protest you've heard from Jewish groups?

GIBBS: Well, look, Mary Robinson was the first female president of Ireland, and she is somebody whom we are honoring as a prominent crusader of women's rights in Ireland and throughout the world. There are statements that obviously that she has made that the president doesn't agree with, and that's probably true for a number of the people that the president is recognizing for their lifetime contributions.


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