Lame Duck Goals: Today’s Qs for O’s WH – 11/30/2010

TAPPER: The president's scheduled to leave for Hawaii December 18th. Given this very lengthy agenda, what are the odds that he's going to have to delay?

GIBBS: I -- Jake, I think it's largely unknowable, but the president will be here for as long as he needs to be here to get progress on and to make progress on the issues that are -- that he outlined in the meeting.

TAPPER: The -- you said the president, in a way, apologized or expressed regret for not reaching out enough. Did Republicans offer any sort of apology for --

GIBBS: No. No, not that -- not that I have in my notes.

TAPPER: Does the president sense that there is compromise possible on these issues, that Republicans are willing to give?

GIBBS: I think there was -- I think there was a sense in the room -- in discussing a whole host of issues, the understanding on both sides -- let's take taxes -- that we -- there was a -- an economic imperative to provide certainty before the end of the year, when these cuts are scheduled to expire. The president also mentioned, as you heard him say in his statement, there are things like AMT, the college tax credit and other issues that are set to expire and will impact those at all income levels -- so I think an agreement that we needed to get this solved by the end of the year, and an agreement that we all have a responsibility to work together to make progress, and that in order to do so, we're going to be required to sit in the same room, have conversations and discussions like this and come to -- come to some common ground and agreement. And I think -- I think the president believe(s) and I think -- without speaking for them but having read some of their comments after the meeting, I think everyone thought it was a productive beginning in hopes of finding some of that common ground.

TAPPER: Republicans have expressed concern about the fact that Majority Leader Reid has discussed bringing up the DREAM Act and "don't ask, don't tell" repeal. That might eat up a lot of time that could be spent on the tax cuts or START. Does the president share their concern?

GIBBS: Well, the president shares Senator Reid's concern -- or I should say that the president shares Senator Reid's -- believes that it is also -- those are also issues that are important to the American people. And I don't -- I think we talked about this a little yesterday. I don't -- I think -- again, I think the Senate's going to be -- this is -- the tax issue's not going to get solved in -- it's not likely to get solved today. The Senate's going to be here, and there's time to do -- there's time to do the people's business. And I'm not going to get into a long discussion about "don't ask, don’t tell," because I think as many of you know, that very shortly, Secretary Gates, Admiral Mullen and others are going to discuss the public release of the Pentagon's review, but -- and we'll have a statement from the president on what that review has found. But I think in discussions that the president's had on this issue over the past few days, this is an issue that, if we don't solve legislatively is going to get solved in the courts, and that solving that issue in the courts is not going to provide the Pentagon with the type of orderly transition that they've said they need. But we have the pathway to do it legislatively -- (inaudible) -- progress. And I think the president -- obviously, the president still wants to do that.

TAPPER: So just to put a period on this, the president thinks that funding the government, passing unemployment-insurance extensions "don't ask, don't tell" repeal, the DREAM Act, tax cuts and START all can be done -- GIBBS: Yes.

TAPPER: -- in the next 18 days?


TAPPER: Good luck.

GIBBS: Yes. Well, thank you. (Laughter.) Yeah, you'll have a lot to cover.

-Jake Tapper

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