From: Gillman, Todd [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday, July 01, 2015 12:31 PM
To: Allen, Jessica L. EOP
Subject: travel pool #2/gaggle and arrival in Nashville
Josh Earnest gaggled for a half-hour during the 90 minute flight. Air Force One touched down at 12:27pm CT in Nashville.
Topics included Cuba, Greece, Russia cutting off gas to Ukraine, ISIS attack in Egypt, Obamacare, same-sex marriage. Aboard AF1: Rep. Jim Cooper and Natamo Canfiel, an Ohio woman who survived cancer and whose letter hangs outside the Oval Office.
Highlights, with thanks to copooler Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post:
Josh emphasized that Cubans themselves welcome the opening with the US and would get lots of benefits, and that “those who claim” to have the interests of Cubans at heart yet oppose the opening should rethink their opposition.
“Those who are concerned that the rights and preferences of the Cuban people are protected and even advanced should be strongly supportive of the president’s policy,” he said.
Wouldn’t be surprised if pushback in Congress delays confirmation of an ambassador to Cuba but said: “I’m confident that would be a venue for a robust debate about how the policy changes that the president announced back in December aren’t just clearly in the best interest of the American people, they’re clearly in the best interest of the Cuban people.”
“For obvious reasons it would be our strong preference that once an ambassador has been nominated, for that individual to be treated fairly by the United States Senate and confirmed in bipartisan fashion,” he said.
On same-sex marriage, and any conservative state attorneys general who might be resisting:
“It is the view of just about everybody … that their [SCOTUS] decision was clear and the consequences of that decision were clear,” he said.
On getting thrown under the bus by the president at Monday’s presser on the issue of few presidential news conferences.
“I will note that he was smiling broadly when he said that, but look, I will say that yesterday was a good illustration of how useful it could be and how useful the president thinks it is when he has an opportunity to take questions from all of you.. professional journalists,” he said. “…I certainly would anticipate that you’ll have more opportunities to engage in that type of back and forth with the president in the weeks ahead.”
On today’s Obamacare event:
“The hope is that we will put pressure on those individuals who – and it’s been almost all Republicans – who have put political interests ahead of the health of their citizens,” he said. “… .After five or six years of this nonsense, and two – not one but two – significant Supreme Court rulings turning aside major legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act, that we can actually get about the work of focusing on the best interest of the American people.”
ON GREECE: Earnest reiterated that there is not a lot of exposure to the US economy from the Greece economy. “The failure to resolve the ongoing negotiations among Greece and their creditors could have an impact on the broader European economy and obviously there is a lot of exposure from the European economy to the US economy.”
“It is everybody’s best interest for Greece to resume the path of economic growth and sustainability within the Eurozone,” Earnest said.
On IRAN: The US and its P5+1 partners have had “ample opportunity to work through with Iran the wide range of very complex issues that are involved in these negotiations. So this is a deadline that certainly the US and our P5 plus one partners take very seriously, and all are indications are that the Iranians take the deadline very seriously as well.”
Josh noted that some senior Iranian officials had joined the negotiating team to try to reach and agreement…”Again there are some very serious differences to resolve and the president I think was pretty resolute in his discussion of this yesterday…” If the president’s expectations are not met “there will not be a final deal,” Earnest said.
Todd J. Gillman
Washington Bureau Chief
The Dallas Morning News
529 14th Street NW, suite 930
Washington, DC 20045