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Barack Obama: Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs
Barack
Barack Obama
Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs
July 14, 2009
The White House: Office of the Press Secretary
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Aboard Air Force One
En route Mt. Clemons, Michigan

2:32 P.M. EDT

MR. GIBBS: How's everyone today?

Q: Is he ready?

MR. GIBBS: I hope he is. No, I think he will be.

Q: He's been doing some practicing?

MR. GIBBS: He's just been throwing a little bit with -- I think he threw some last night some with Reggie. He recalls fondly that the last time he did this was, as you all may know, in 2005 at the American League Championship Series. And it was the game in which -- we were all there watching and basically the White Sox were about to go down 2-0 in the series. Then they had a crazy pitch, a guy got to first base, the inning kept going, and they didn't lose again in the playoffs. They won the next four in the Championship Series and won four straight in the --

Q: (Inaudible) White Sox --

MR. GIBBS: I would say there's a very small scintilla of the game in which he's proud to have been a part of, yes.

Q: (Inaudible) here for community colleges or baseball?

MR. GIBBS: He is a representative of the Philadelphia Phillies today and excited to go to the game. And we'll have -- hopefully I can bring our special guest back on the next leg of the trip, just so you -- some of you may be aware that Willie Mays will be flying with us from Detroit to St. Louis.

Q: Anybody else besides Willie Mays?

MR. GIBBS: I think he's -- no more baseball folks, no. But obviously somebody who's -- you know, charitably, probably he and Babe Ruth are the greatest baseball players ever to play.

Q: Has the President met him before?

MR. GIBBS: I believe they have met before doing fundraising stuff out on the West Coast.

Q: All right, no more baseball. Goldman Sachs reported earnings today, an all-time high for them, and then set aside over $11 billion in compensation just for half the year. Has the President seen that? Does he think it's appropriate for a company that's received $10 billion in government funding to set aside that kind of money for compensations? Any thoughts on the profit --

MR. GIBBS: I don't know that -- I don't know if the President has seen any of the information. And I'm generally hesitant -- as I think the Treasury Department is -- to comment on individual earnings reports.

Q: You're not -- you're not at all -- you're eyebrow wasn't raised to see Goldman Sachs earning so much money from a year ago? This is a company that got the AIG -- they got paid back by AIG, which was federal government money.

MR. GIBBS: I understand. Again, I'm just -- I'm hesitant to comment on individual earnings reports.

Q: Do you think it's appropriate for a company that's received federal funds to set aside $300,000 per employee for compensation?

MR. GIBBS: I have not seen information directly on the compensation.

Q: Well, that's what it is. Do you think --

MR. GIBBS: I appreciate the briefing on your part and I'll seek to try to find that information out myself.

Q: Can you comment on the fact that the President's father-in-law is buried in Burr Oak? Does the President have a reaction to what happened there?

MR. GIBBS: I'm not going to get into that.

Q: You have no comment at all?

MR. GIBBS: No.

Q: Robert, can you describe what the President's mood is coming to Michigan, given the unemployment numbers here and the, sort of, mood?

MR. GIBBS: Look, obviously this is -- I think as he said this afternoon in the Oval -- or this morning in the Oval Office, obviously you've got a state that the unemployment rate is the greatest in the nation and obviously is a state that has dealt with economic transformation, the loss of auto and manufacturing jobs well before the recession hit. So obviously this is probably as hard-hit an area as there is in the entire country.

I think one of the things that is important about today's stop is one aspect of putting people back to work and laying that long-term foundation for economic growth is increasing the number of people that we have in this country that get a post-high school education, that get the job training and placement help necessary for the jobs of the future. And that's the program -- the new initiative that the President will highlight today that he talked originally about in the joint session of Congress.

But obviously, look, there are lots and lots of people that are hurting all throughout Michigan and the Midwest as a result, again, of not just the downturn in the economy but things that they've struggled with economically for quite some time.

Q: Do you feel like you guys are moving money fast enough into Michigan -- stimulus money fast enough into Michigan?

MR. GIBBS: The recovery plan is ahead of the pace that was originally set --

Q: (Inaudible.)

MR. GIBBS: Well, in Michigan and throughout the country. I think Michigan is one of the -- one of the top 10 state recipients for money.

Look, I think you can talk to people in Michigan that have watched recovery money go in. There's no doubt that there are fewer teachers that have been laid off because of money that has come in to help education funding. There's no doubt that people have been hired because road construction projects are starting here and in the Detroit area and throughout the state that have put people back to work.

Obviously, we've got a lot of work to do in the Midwest and in Michigan and throughout the country. Money has moved quickly. It has moved ahead of pace. And it has prevented an even sharper economic downturn from occurring.

Q: Do you know how many jobs have been created so far in Michigan?

MR. GIBBS: I don't have an exact Michigan figure, no.

Q: Did he watch any of the Sotomayor questioning today?

MR. GIBBS: Did he? No, I don't believe he has watched any of the hearings thus far.

Q: Has he talked to her at all?

MR. GIBBS: Not since Sunday.

Q: Has he been briefed at all about Senator Sessions' line of questioning?

MR. GIBBS: We talked briefly in the -- we're going to be surfing here in a minute -- in the senior staff meeting just generally about the fact that questioning had started. And I think her answers, telling senators again that she's going to follow the law as she has for 17 years as a judge and --

Q: Is she getting a fair shake from the Republicans?

MR. GIBBS: I think so. I mean, look, everyone understands that this is the drill. I think that if Republicans listen to the answers that she gives and look at her 17-year record, they'll figure out that this is a nominee that has a distinguished record, lots of experience, and somebody that's going to follow the law. So I think she'll -- I think she's doing really well.

All right. Welcome to the Detroit area. Thanks, guys.

END 2:40 P.M. EDT



Citation: Barack Obama: "Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs," July 14, 2009. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=86421.
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