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Barack Obama: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs
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Barack Obama
Press Briefing by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs
July 28, 2009
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James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

3:23 P.M. EDT

MR. GIBBS: Go ahead.

Q: I want to ask about Thursday. A teachable moment? Is that what Thursday night might be about, or is this just supposed to be more casual? Can you talk about what the President's expectations or --

MR. GIBBS: I think this will be a very casual affair. I think the details that I have thus far is that at 6:00 p.m. -- I think the likely location, weather permitting, is the picnic table out back -- I think, as the President discussed last Friday, an effort and an opportunity to have greater communication, get to know each other, and step back from the circumstances that brought everybody together over the past many days. But there's no formal agenda other than cold beer.

Q: Is there something that he wants to say or communicate either through the pictures or words to the American public with this event? Or is it mostly just three guys having a beer?

MR. GIBBS: Well, I mean, look, I think the picture alone will communicate that despite the incident, despite what happened, despite what was said after that, we can still sit down and discuss issues that are important like this; that we can, I think as the President has said many times, disagree without being disagreeable, and I think it will be a poignant moment.

Q: What about coverage and logistics? Do you have that mapped out?

MR. GIBBS: Do you want to be the pool beer person to -- (laughter.) I assume what we'll do it -- yes, you don't get to do that after coming back from vacation for a couple weeks. No, the -- we'll likely have -- I don't know that we'll have any comments during it, but I think we'll certainly do -- set it up so you guys can see the picture.

Q: Set it up to see a picture, what does that mean?

MR. GIBBS: So that you can take a camera out there and film it in order to use it on, say, the nightly news.

Q: Moving pictures as opposed to our friend here with still pictures?

MR. GIBBS: No, no, no, I know. Don't -- fret not, Chuck. I appreciate registering your preemptive complaint for your executive producer somewhere in New York. But fret not, we will --

Q: Pool, right?

MR. GIBBS: I assume it will be pool, just for size. I don't know if Chuck is the pool or -- go ahead, sir.

Q: The idea of a non-profit cooperative seems to be rising as a possibility in the Senate Finance Committee. Would that meet the President's requirements?

MR. GIBBS: I have not seen and I don't know if others here have fully seen or had a chance to evaluate the legislation that the committee is working on. I know the President's test is do we have adequate choice and competition for private insurance? We see all over the country there are markets -- some markets that are more restrictive than others in providing that choice and in having that competition. That's the President's ultimate test, is that we have those aspects in a health care plan that provide increased accessibility for Americans, for families, for small businesses to be able to purchase health insurance.

Q: So this is something you're willing to consider?

MR. GIBBS: Well, I think they're in the process of -- I know the Finance Committee is in the process of working through this and a number of other issues, as I understand it, and we'll certainly take a look and evaluate that legislation as it comes out.

Yes, sir.

Q: The Senate Finance Committee, obviously in working in the bipartisan way they're working, they're talking about not only not having a public plan, or at least some sort of modified version of a public plan, like the cooperatives -- not having employer mandates. It seems possible that the bill that comes out of the Senate Finance Committee and the bill that the House Democrats pass will be so different -- I realize that you like to emphasize the 75 percent that they agree on, but --

MR. GIBBS: Eighty.

Q: -- 75 to 80 percent that they agree on, but I wonder if they're irreconcilable and what or how involved the President will be in any sort of reconciliation committee.

MR. GIBBS: Well, I think in some ways it's a little premature to go -- we've not yet seen the outlines, the full outlines or the plan that might arise from the Senate Finance Committee or under what umbrella it will come out of the committee, with whose support and who's not. And I don't know that we fully yet know what will transpire in the House.

Obviously the President laid down a series of ideas and markers that he believes are tremendously important. I heard somebody say -- and I apologize for not knowing exactly who -- the President doesn't care what he gets, he just wants to sign something called reform. And that's just -- that could not be farther from the truth.

The President wants something that accomplishes the principles and the goals that he set forth in this process, and quite frankly, dating back to the campaign, that honestly cuts costs, honestly changes the direction of spending on health care both for families, small businesses and for governments. We want to do that in a way that provides increased accessability to affordable health care.

We want to ensure fundamental reforms of insurance, be it the inability for an insurance company to drop somebody's coverage if they get seriously ill, or discriminate against somebody because of a preexisting condition, or structure an insurance policy that -- you've seen this sometimes referred to as house or home insurance rather than health insurance, because basically, your out-of-pocket expenses have the ability to be so enormous, that the notion that you have insurance isn't even realistic anymore. Those are some of the things that the President wants to see -- once we have the process through the House and the Senate and things like that, we'll take a -- there will obviously be that process of reconciling whatever different proposals come out, but I think there's broad agreement thus far.

Q: Okay, but just to try again on this. The hypothetical I'm proposing, that I'm suggesting is likely what's going to happen -- the way that the two bodies are going about doing this are very different. One body is trying to do it in a bipartisan way; the other one is not, or at least doesn't have to, because of the rules of the House. And also, the Republicans in the Senate have been more inclined to try to cooperate. It's likely that the two bills will be significantly different in parts. How involved is the President willing to get in the reconciliation process?

MR. GIBBS: Let me just -- I'm not trying to be a flip here, but reconciling the differences in the bills, you're not talking about some formal procedure, post-budget, right? Meaning -- there's a process called reconciliation, and I just want to make sure that that's not what we're talking about.

Q: How involved -- whether it's capital R reconciliation or small r reconciliation, how involved is he going to be in leading --

MR. GIBBS: Well, they are very fundamentally different things. But let me -- in order to bridge difference --

Q: I was referring to capital R reconciliation, but it can be any way you want to use it.

MR. GIBBS: Well, obviously, I think the President will be involved in working through whatever differences the House and the Senate have. If you're talking about capital R reconciliation, obviously, the President believes we're making enormous progress through regular order and through the committee process, and thinks that at this point he's comfortable with the path that this is going on as we speak.

Q: The President has held a lot of town hall meetings and given a number of speeches on health care reform. Yet, as we saw today, there's still concerns out there among seniors with the various rumors and things they hear on the Internet, end-of-life care or concerns of a government takeover, or whatever it might be. Is the White House concerned that the message of this overhaul that the President is trying to get out to the American people is not getting through to some?

MR. GIBBS: Well, look, I think -- let's take your -- I want to split your question in two parts, which you may not want me to do. But let's address the first part. I mean, there -- you have members of Congress standing up saying the bill is -- the bill encourages euthanasia, which just, if you're keeping track at home, is illegal in 49 of 50 states, okay? So the legislation -- it's legal in Oregon, because it passed through a voter initiative -- but it's illegal, okay? So the notion that somebody intimates that the bill allows something to happen that's illegal is, on its face, silly.

Q: So Congress is -- has some responsibility here for giving misinformation to the American people?

MR. GIBBS: I think there are people that have knowingly spread information, inaccurate information to hold up progress on health reform. I think that's about as obvious as the sun having come up this morning in the east.

Q: Do you want to euthanize them? (Laughter.)

MR. GIBBS: That would be illegal, Mark. (Laughter.)

But, look, the President understands that one of the reasons that this hasn't happened over the course of four or five decades, despite the fact that we've needed health care reform for many decades, is because there are those that are content on not being part of a solution. They think the status quo -- families paying more money, being discriminated against for their insurance coverage, dropped because they get too sick -- that seems just fine to some of them. It certainly does to -- you can read those comments in the paper today.

But the President believes that we're at a moment in our time that we have to make progress; that we can't afford to simply stand still, absorb the status quo of increased costs, thousands more each day losing their health insurance. And he's going to spend a lot of time -- has spent and will spend a lot of time talking directly to the American people about what's in this bill for them.

Q: Can I follow on that?

MR. GIBBS: Sure.

Q: On that specific provision which would allow Medicare to reimburse end-of-life counseling sessions, does the President support that?

MR. GIBBS: The President -- I have not talked to him about the individual section. I know the President -- you probably heard the President discuss that his grandmother had a living will. I think the President has discussed the importance of ensuring that your loved ones know or that -- loved ones know what a patient wants in terms of extraordinary mechanisms for extraordinary resuscitation. His grandmother didn't fall under that; she was able to make her own decisions. But for millions of Americans, it's an important thing.

Q: It is more complex than just extraordinary resuscitation. The President discussed his grandmother having a hip replacement in the last few months of her life, and questions about what this did for the value of her life, for the quality of her life is what I think I mean to use. It seems to be an extremely sensitive issue to have the government counseling people on end-of-life issues, on whether or not to end curative care.

MR. GIBBS: I think the public might have come down on that conclusion in the beginning of 2005 when Congress got involved in some of these decisions at a fairly local level, as I recall.

Q: Well, now, in the last administration they expanded Medicare coverage to include hospice care. I wonder how you -- how you keep the government from making what seems to be a financial decision that most people feel should be between a patient, their family, and their health care provider.

MR. GIBBS: That's not going to change. That's the whole point of Dan's question, is, again, there are red herrings that are put out about what this bill won't do in order to block progress. That's what happens in Washington on countless number of issues.

Q: But, Robert, he didn't answer -- there was a direct question about this rationing issue. The woman on the phone said it very -- and she wasn't doing it as a -- she didn't even do it as a rumor. She was saying, look, I want to know what is it that is going to -- will be there a decision, will Medicare get involved about deciding whether I get a hip replacement, knee replacement, she brought up, and she brought up about cardiac issues because she was at a certain age. And then he didn't answer the question. He didn't -- and he didn't dispute some of the notion -- I mean, what is -- you don't -- we may not want to call it "rationing," but what is it? Where is -- where is his position on this? What will Medicare decide to cover or not, decide to cover, and how will this Medicare board be involved in this?

MR. GIBBS: Are you talking about MedPAC or IMAC?

Q: I think it's about IMAC. I think that was the question. And he went to the IMAC thing about best practices, but he didn't push back on this rationing notion at all. And obviously she called it "rationing," but on this notion of how is hip replacements and knee -- I mean, is that going to be dealt with by IMAC or not?

MR. GIBBS: I'd have to ask Peter or somebody else in terms of IMAC, but the point of that proposal is not to prescribe end-of-life decisions. It's just --

Q: We're talking about different things here.

Q: There are two questions here.

Q: Two different questions.

Q: This is about the issue of the hip replacement issue, not about end-of-life.

MR. GIBBS: I can certainly check, but that's -- never have I been under the impression that's what this proposal is about.

Q: Best practices is not going to include -- okay, you're 85 years old, you shouldn't have a hip replacement. I mean, that question has been lingering out there --

MR. GIBBS: I think those are questions that would be left to doctors and patients.

Q: Right, but if you -- the question I have is, who does the -- if Medicare provides the coverage for these end-of-life consultation sessions, who does the consultation?

MR. GIBBS: I assume the doctor, right? I mean, doesn't -- didn't we just say this was a -- these were things about --

Q: Medicare pays for it -- I'm sorry.

MR. GIBBS: Right, but these are decisions that are made by doctors and patients, so counseling will be done by doctors.

Q: So a doctor decides that and Medicare -- there isn't going to be a change in how Medicare --

MR. GIBBS: I'm not under the impression that IMAC changes that relationship, no.

Q: But that was what was not clear in his answer.

MR. GIBBS: Well, I'll see that -- yes.

Q: -- to figure out whether certain things work, and if they don't work, to stop doing them so that --

MR. GIBBS: Well, it's partly to stop providing the -- as the President has talked about it, we have an incentive structure, we have a fee-based system that doesn't incentivize the curing of a patient; it incentivizes tests and procedures. So I think you heard the President talk about the fact that we spend more money than other developed countries do on health care, despite the fact that statistics show we're not less healthy as we go into this.

We visited the Cleveland Clinic and one of the things the Cleveland Clinic does is offers a salary; it doesn't -- compensation isn't based on all of what you do. That's what the President has talked about.

Yes, sir.

Q: Back on the co-op idea. Some of the members of the so-called "gang of six" say they do expect a co-op to be in their final product. Is the administration just taking a hands-off position here, or are your lobbyists on the Hill trying to steer them away from that in any way?

MR. GIBBS: I don't have anything specific on what those guys are telling him, except hoping that the Finance Committee can come to a conclusion.

Q: But there's no effort by the White House to get them --

MR. GIBBS: I don't know if they've evaluated the language that they -- or the degree to which an idea that's conceptualized has been put down on paper to look at.

Q: But you can't say whether or not the White House is actually trying to influence what --

MR. GIBBS: No, I think again we're just -- we're influencing the process forward.

Q: You're not trying to scare them away from co-op --

MR. GIBBS: We're hopeful that they'll make progress.

Q: Following up on Jennifer's topic, you said there's no formal agenda for the beer-fest or whatever you want to call it.

MR. GIBBS: I wouldn't call it the beer-fest -- (laughter) -- your title, not mine, my friend.

Q: Okay. There's no formal agenda for the beer picnic -- (laughter) --

MR. GIBBS: No offense, I know I'm usually the one that makes the jokes in here, I think it's a fairly serious picture rather than a beer picnic.

Q: Well, what is -- is there going to be follow-up? Because how can this be a teachable moment if there's no follow-up? Doesn't there have to be something that comes out of this other than a good picture? Doesn't there have to be a next step and some kind of effort to make something happen?

MR. GIBBS: Well, but understand, Chip, as the President says time and time again, not every problem is going to be solved by government. Not every problem should be solved by government. I think we hope that the teachable moment and the dialogue -- if the only time that teachable moment happens and the only time that dialogue happens is because government is involved, then the answer is, no, we're not going to solve any of those problems.

Q: Well, the President said this is in his portfolio, and then he said it's a teachable moment.

MR. GIBBS: Absolutely.

Q: Where's the teaching, other than -- I mean, if we just have this picture and then the issue disappears, hasn't he missed the opportunity to make this a teachable moment?

MR. GIBBS: No, I -- one, I think you'll continue to ask him about these issues. I think he's got a Justice Department that's concerned about keeping the American people safe, but also increasing that dialogue among different communities.

But again, Chip, this isn't going to be borne completely by the President of the United States, because you're not going to see progress if it's only something that's done by him; it has to be done not just at a federal level but at a very local level. This has to be done by everybody.

Q: But will he and the White House be doing anything to encourage that to happen at the local level and make this a continuing teachable moment?

MR. GIBBS: I don't have anything specific on that.

Q: No follow-up, there's no follow-up?

MR. GIBBS: I guess it's just a disappointing beer-fest for you.

Q: Can I follow on that, Robert?

MR. GIBBS: Yes.

Q: Beyond this winning picture that the White House is looking for -- and you just said that the federal government can't do anything about --

MR. GIBBS: Again, that's your characterization, not mine.

Q: No, but you're talking about this picture. I mean, you're having both sides in this conflict come to sit at that picnic table or wherever in the back and it's --

MR. GIBBS: It's the picnic table.

Q: -- and there's a winning picture, okay, that's --

MR. GIBBS: Surely there's a question in here somewhere.

Q: Yes, it is. You're saying that the federal government can't do anything. According to the --

MR. GIBBS: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. And I hate to interrupt because I asked you if there was a question. I did not say the federal government could not do anything. Let me be clear. I don't know if I was unclear in answering or trying to answer Chip's question -- he would debate whether I answered it. I'm not saying the government doesn't have any role to play. I'm saying that if the only aspect of this dialogue happens because of, or only because of our participation, then we're not going to make progress, because it has to be done not just by government, but by all levels of citizens -- local, state, at every different level.

Q: Well, there are now citizens that are calling upon this White House. Is this something that -- this is something that the President had championed when he was in Illinois in the state government. Now, the NAACP wants support of a clear definition of racial profiling for local law enforcement that will clearly mark it a criminal act. And Congressman John Conyers has the End Racial Profiling Act that will be introduced in the House in two weeks. And Senator Russ Feingold is posed -- is poised to introduce the same Senate version around the same time. And the bill would create a clear definition of what is considered racial profiling. And with that, some are calling for it to be considered a criminal act. What say this White House on that matter?

MR. GIBBS: Well, obviously, we'd have to see what is involved in the legislation. Obviously, as you mentioned, the President -- this was a topic that the President worked on, a subject that the President spent some considerable amount of time on in Illinois -- criticized, I might add, in Illinois, in some quarters, for not doing enough on this -- because keep in mind, April, this was a piece of legislation that collected and disseminated its statistics in order for local communities and law enforcement to use those statistics to make evaluations about what was going on at different traffic stops in different areas throughout the state. But I'd have to see, or somebody here would have to see text of legislation to --

Q: All this happened -- it just happens to be a coincidence it's falling around the same time. But this clearly has been an issue. And some have raised concerns that, you know, this administration has dialed back. You know, when the President came out here Friday, he was saying, you know, yes -- again, there are sensitivities because of issues with the black community and other minority communities and policing communities. And then you have this issue -- he's talking about the serious issue, he called the Sergeant first, and then he made a call to Gates to bring them here, understanding the seriousness, and then you dial it back saying it's not going to be as formal. What is going to be discussed? Is he going to try to -- I mean, beyond diffusing the issue, there is still a problem -- overtones of the problem are still there.

MR. GIBBS: I never suggested -- I don't think the White House suggested that one meeting was going to solve this problem. The President is happy to host this. The President is happy to make this and believes this can be a moment, a teachable moment. I don't know what will be followed up on after this, because the meeting hasn't happened. But obviously I don't think this is an issue that is of concern to just the President. I mean, this is an issue, as you mentioned, of concern to a lot of Americans -- not just African Americans, but a lot of Americans -- and I think as such it will be a topic that's continued to be talked about.

Q: Just one quick thing, and that is, can we expect, when the Senate Finance Committee does formally roll out what this will look like, will you guys weigh in then, or are you going to wait until this bill gets --

MR. GIBBS: I think we'll wait to see what's in the bill.

Q: Having missed the August recess, would it be helpful to the White House's effort to solidify or perhaps improve public opinion about the health care bill if there was some momentum coming out of either the Finance Committee or the House?

MR. GIBBS: Well, I think from the White House perspective we've seen a lot of momentum. We've seen progress. We've seen legislation reach farther in the legislative process than we have in a long, long time. We never got to this point 16 years ago. So obviously whether it's something that formally passes out of the House and the Finance Committee -- all of that would be certainly helpful -- I think the President's measure is, are we continuing to make progress.

Q: And following up on -- sort of an aside you had during the discussion about end-of-life care, were you suggesting that Republicans who are critical of this end-of-life provision are hypocritical because of their role in the Terri Schiavo case?

MR. GIBBS: No, I think Wendell's question was -- Wendell's question was based on the public reaction to getting involved in these type of things, and I simply denoted that if one looked at public reaction around that, I think it's understandable that they're wary of these discussions happening in Washington.

Q: So you weren't making any commentary on how Republicans handled that versus what they're saying now?

MR. GIBBS: No, I am simply denoting that I can see similarities in the trepidation that people have in discussing these issues from on high in Washington.

Mark.

Q: Robert, based on the "no" votes at the judiciary committee, there are still some senators who aren't convinced that Judge Sotomayor can put her personal biases aside in serving on the high court. What is your response to them?

MR. GIBBS: I don't know how more clearly she could say it. I don't know how more clearly her record could demonstrate a fealty to the law rather than to a personal opinion. I guess some people just, despite evidence, aren't going to be or can't be convinced. I think you saw today a strong vote for Judge Sotomayor. And I'll reiterate what I said this morning: I think we're on track to get the Judge through the Senate, to become Justice Sotomayor, to be sworn in, in time to work on an important case in September that was held over from the previous Court session, and involved in the important work that's done at the Court before session begins in hearing cases by picking what the Court is going to work on.

But I think you have a nominee that has unparalleled experience, virtually unparalleled depth and variety of experiences in their legal career; somebody who is eminently qualified to be the next justice of the Supreme Court, and we look forward to that happening.

Q: And on health care, are the phrases "health care reform" and "health insurance reform" interchangeable?

MR. GIBBS: Yes. It's not a sleight of hand or anything.

Yes, sir.

Q: The President is hosting Mr. Gates and Mr. Crowley -- and I guess his family is coming as well --

MR. GIBBS: I think that's true, yes.

Q: Who is helping out with the transportation and the lodging, if there is any? Is it coming out of their pocket or is the White House helping out, or --

MR. GIBBS: I asked this question. I don't believe that -- transportation costs have not been something that's been brought up by Professor Gates or Sergeant Crowley, so at this point I assume it's out-of-pocket expenses.

Yes, ma'am.

Q: Switch to the Middle East, on Israel. What's the status of these talks going on in the Middle East right now? Is the U.S. putting extraordinary pressure on Israel out of concern of a possible Israeli air strike against Iran?

MR. GIBBS: Well, I think you see the commitment that the administration believes is needed, is necessary, and is willing to do to get progress on Middle East peace by sending -- former Senator Mitchell is in the region. He met last night with President Peres, President Abbas, Prime Minister Fayyad, this morning with Prime Minister Netanyahu. General Jones is on his way to the region. Secretary Gates met with his defense counterpart, Ehud Barak, yesterday. I think that level of participation denotes our commitment to working to find a lasting peace in the Middle East. And Prime Minister Netanyahu said on the radio that we were making progress, and Senator Mitchell believes the same thing.

Q: What are the next steps with Syria?

MR. GIBBS: I think -- I don't know if Senator Mitchell and others will -- I don't know what, on their itinerary, whether they've -- what those stops have been, but we'll continue to work with both sides throughout the region to get Middle East peace.

Bill.

Q: Robert, there seems to be a big shift from the President being full bore for a public plan option -- back to health care -- full bore for a public plan option as the way to give consumers more choice and to give private insurance more competition, to, as you said yesterday in response to Chuck's question, that he does not have any preference that you know of between the public plan option and the co-op. Would you acknowledge that's a big shift on the part of the White House?

MR. GIBBS: No, again, as I said again today, we've laid down goals and principles of increasing choice and competition. I don't know that we've -- as I said today, there's -- I don't know that there's been an evaluation of legislative language that we have or haven't seen on co-ops.

Q: But co-ops are run by -- would be run by insurance companies. They are not a public plan. So they're entirely different.

MR. GIBBS: Well, again, without having seen the Finance Committee bill, it's hard for the -- hard for us to come down and fully evaluate. I think that's obviously something we'll do as part of this process.

Q: Is he still for a public plan option?

MR. GIBBS: The President said that in a series of principles. And, again, what we want to do is provide, as I've said before, choice and competition in order to give those in the insurance market greater access through that choice and competition to a plan that works best for them.

Margaret.

Q: Does the President believe that a public plan option necessarily means something that's run by the government, or does it just mean the government guaranteeing the coverage of people who are uninsured? And I also have a Philippines question.

MR. GIBBS: Say that one more time.

Q: Does the President believe that a public plan option necessarily means that the government is providing or managing the coverage of people, or does he simply believe that it means the government is guaranteeing that people will get coverage somehow?

MR. GIBBS: I believe it's the former. But certainly, I'll double-check just to make sure.

Q: Can I ask a Philippines question, since you're traveling tomorrow? The President of the Philippines will be here on Thursday. Is there any discussion between the U.S. and the Philippines about taking prisoners from Guantanamo? And is that a subject that will come up on Thursday?

MR. GIBBS: It's not in my guidance, but I will -- we'll certainly give you a readout as to whether or not that comes up as part of their discussions this week.

Q: Last week, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution that directs the President to impose crippling sanctions on Iran if the regime hasn't accepted the U.S. offer of engagement by the time of the G20 in September. And I was wondering, has the President, or other administration officials, engaged in discussions with our international partners about specific sanctions against Iran?

MR. GIBBS: The international community has a standing offer dating back to April for engagement through the process with Iran that we have not heard back from on. The G8 said that in September, the international community would take stock of where we are on Iran. And we anticipate that that will take place in September. I don't want to get into hypotheticals, of what if, past that.

Q: Any specific plans, though, if the situation --

MR. GIBBS: Well, again, I think that's -- I'd carve that into the hypotheticals.

Yes, ma'am.

Q: Thank you, Robert. Congress has asked the State Department to review North Korea's removal from state sponsors of terrorism list. Does the U.S. have any intention to list North Korea as a terrorist country again?

MR. GIBBS: Well, I think the Secretary of State addressed this a few weeks ago. I simply want to say that obviously it is our hope that the North Koreans will fulfill the obligations and responsibilities that they, themselves, entered into. Obviously it's tremendously important. We've seen that tough sanctions that were passed by the U.N., unanimous sanctions that were passed, have real and lasting effects in addressing some of the most important aspects of ensuring that the proliferation of weapons and weapons of mass destruction doesn't happen. We'll continue to implement those sanctions and, again, hope that North Korea hopes and seeks to return to a productive role in the international community, understanding its responsibilities.

Q: Thank you, Robert.

MR. GIBBS: Yes, sir.

Q: During the Bush administration, affirmative action in the federal government was quietly retired. Do you expect the President to restore these programs?

MR. GIBBS: I'm sorry, say that last part again.

Q: Do you expect the President to restore affirmative action in the federal government?

MR. GIBBS: I don't know what specific programs you're discussing.

Q: I mean, the federal affirmative action programs during the Bush administration were retired.

MR. GIBBS: Are you talking about Section 8? Are you talking about --

Q: Yes, Section 8.

MR. GIBBS: I'd have to look more closely at what the Bush administration retired and the reasoning for that.

Thank you.

END 3:59 P.M. EDT



Citation: Barack Obama: "Press Briefing by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs," July 28, 2009. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=86484.
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