Fw: Travel pool #3 - gaggle, event background

From: Benjamin Wolfgang [mailto:xxx@email.com]
Sent: Wednesday, September 09, 2015 02:28 PM
To: Allen, Jessica L. EOP
Subject: Travel pool #3 - gaggle, event background

-Huge thanks to Christi Parsons for jumping in with the last pool report. We had very limited time between gaggle and landing. At 2:20 pm, caravan is heading to Macomb Community College. (background on visit at bottom).

Deputy press secretary Eric Schultz gaggled for just over 20 minutes during the otherwise uneventful flight, making a bit of news on POTUS plans to greet Pope Francis next week, bashing Sen. Ted Cruz over Iran and saying WH doesn't need new legislation in order to take in more Syrian refugees. As always, check quotes against transcript.

Pope Francis:

-POTUS and first lady will greet Pope Francis at Andrews on Sept. 22. The next day, Sept. 23, the pope will visit the White House.

-"It is not necessarily routine for the president to greet the foreign leader at Andrews." - But, George W. Bush met then Pope Benedict in 2008 at Andrews. So there is precedent, Schultz said.

-this friday, Sept. 11, POTUS will observe moment of silence and travel to Ft. Meade and meet with service members. "The president looks forward to having a conversation with the patriotic men and women who work every day to make America safe."

Syrian refugees:

U.S. has a "moral responsibility to play a role in addressing this issue."  He says they're in regular contact with countries in Mideast and Europe

-says Congress must confirm new US AID administrator to help administer aid to the Syrian refugees.

-"We understand how complex and difficult this issue is and how it poses a very serious challenge to EU and non EU nations in the nation. But overall we commend the humanitarian spirit of European leaders," Schultz said.

When will you announce new steps?

'We do understand the urgency of the situation so I think you will be hearing more in short order."  - but, no specific timeline.

-on McCain comments blasting administration's Syria policy.

-Schultz says some critics -  like McCain - want to send more troops into the Middle East.  "That's just not a position the president holds."

-"The refugee crisis is a symptom of the horrendous conditions in Syria. At least of these refugees presumably would want to return home once conditions are safe. At the end of the day the only true resolution to this is a Syria that is safe for them to return home to."

-says we need a diplomatic solution in Syria, and Assad must go.

on new legislation to deal with refugees: "It's my understanding that legislation is not necessary to increase the number of Syrian refugees considered for resettlement in the United States."

-Russian forces in Syria:

"We do have deep concerns by reports russia may have deployed military personnel and aircraft to Syria." - says they are monitoring situation closely.

-"Our bottom line is we would welcome constructive russian contributions" to the fight against ISIL. "It would be unconscionable for any party, including the russians, to provide any support to the Assad regime.

-Iran vote:

specifically on possible Republican plan to delay vote, perhaps because the 60 day timeline didn't start until the 'side deals' with IAEA were disclosed.

Schultz says of that notion: "Sounds like a plan hatched up at Tortilla Coast on a Tuesday night"

-and on rally today at Capitol: "Opponents of the deal have gone to great lengths to derail this deal, they've done so by using many of the same argument that date back to the 2002 decision to invade Iraq."

-whether today's rally is a "pro-war rally"

"I thin if you look at Sen Cruz's remarks on this, who is my understanding will be one off the headliners at today's rally … I can't speak tot he thousands of people who will be there and what there motives are. I can speak to those who are marketed as the draw for the rally."

-wouldn't comment on Draft Biden 2016 hiring more state directors:

'I don't have any readout of a private conversation between the president and the vice president."

-refers questions on BlackRock CEO Larry Fink's travels to China to the Treasury Department

Background on today's visit:

The President is touring Macomb Community College’s Michigan Technical Education Center (M-TEC), the college’s headquarters for its engineering and advanced technology workforce and continuing education team. The President and Dr. Biden will interact with students who are learning control robotics, components of M-TEC’s training in advanced integrated manufacturing, automated systems and robotics. The President and Dr. Biden will see an automated assembly robotics cell and an automated robotic material handling cell.

--

Ben Wolfgang
White House Reporter

The Washington Times
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