From: Nelson, Colleen McCain [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, February 19, 2015 01:11 PM
To: Allen, Jessica
Subject: Travel Pool Report #3 -- gaggle
Eric Schultz gaggled during the flight to Chicago.
Highlights are below. Please check quotes against the transcript.
At the start of the gaggle, Christy Goldfuss, a senior adviser at the Council of Environmental Quality, provided information about today’s national monuments designations. She covered most of the information included in today’s White House release about the “Every Kid in a Park” initiative and the monument announcements.
She talked about the time kids now spend in front of screens and the lack of access to outdoor spaces for many families in urban areas.
The designation of Pullman National Monument will be Chicago’s first National Park Service unit, Goldfuss said. Pullman is just blocks away from where President Obama started his career as a community organizer, she said.
On Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel:
Schultz said the White House principle of not getting appearing with a candidate right before an election applies to foreign leaders – not domestic politics. Obama and Emanuel have been friends for many years and remain in close touch, he said.
“The president has supported the mayor’s elections in the past – campaigns in the past – and he supports this one as well,” Schultz said.
Schultz said today’s stop in Chicago has been in the works for a some time and is part of a series of announcements of national monument designations. There have been 16 of these announcements, he said.
“The president’s designation of this area is again one that’s been on our radar for a very long time,” he said.
The president supports for the mayor’s campaign because he thinks Emanuel has been a strong mayor for the city, Schultz said.
Schultz said he did not have a full rundown of what Obama has done to support Emanuel’s re-election bid.
Schultz followed up after the gaggle and said that Obama has recorded a radio ad for Emanuel’s campaign.
Secretary Lew spoke to his counterpart yesterday, Schultz said. They discussed the deliberations between Greece and their partners, he said. Lew noted that the failure to reach an agreement would lead to immediate hardships in Greece, he said, adding that uncertainty is not good for Europe.
On Wal-Mart’s announcement that it would raise wages for workers:
“Today’s announcement is another example of businesses, along with cities and states, taking action on their own to raise wages for their workers, recognizing that doing so can raise productivity, reduce turnover and improve morale,” Schultz said.
The White House continues to call on Congress to give all workers a wage hike, he said, adding that given Republican recalcitrance, they would continue to make progress in other ways.
Schultz said they were deeply troubled by reports of Ukrainian military and civilian casualties as a result of Russian-backed separatist assaults. He called on Russia to abide by the Minsk implementation plan.
“What was agreed to last week was not a shopping list. You don’t get to decide which items you’re going to abide by,” he said.
On Rudy Giuliani’s suggestion that Obama doesn’t love America:
Schultz said Giuliani test drove this line of attack during his “fleeting 2007 run for the presidency.”
He said he would leave it to those at the dinner to assess whether the remarks were appropriate.
“I’m not going to pile on from here,” he said, adding that he agreed with Giuliani’s assessment that it was a horrible thing to say.
Colleen McCain Nelson
The Wall Street Journal
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