From: Shear, Michael [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 09:54 AM
To: Allen, Jessica L. EOP/WHO
Subject: Travel Pool Report #3 — POTUS remarks after bilat
Note: There was news on Putin / Refugees — see quotes below.
This will be just a quick report with much more complete quotes to come soon.
The pool was led into a hotel room with big chandeliers for the photo spray that has been essentially turned into a 1 & 1 news conference after the bilateral meeting between POTUS and President Aquino. There were two podiums set up rather far apart from each other, in front of a leafy backdrop that evoked a tropical theme. The room was filled with reporters from the US and Philippines.
The presidents entered at 9:11 am.
On Putin, POTUS said he talked again with Putin about the ISIL campaing and his belief that the Russians are going after the wrong targets (propping up Assad instead of going after ISIL). POTUS said that if those targets change, then he would welcome the Russians into a more robust, cooperative effort.
"If in fact he shifts his focus and the focus of his miltiary, to what is the principle threat, which is ISIL, then that is what we want to see," POTUS said.
POTUS also said that Russia has been a "constructive partner in Vienna in trying to create a political transition" though they continue to disagree about whether a political solution leaves Assad in power. He said if they can work out their disagreements on the diplomatic front, that would also pave the way for more military cooperation between the US and Russia.
On refugees, POTUS was even more blunt than the other day at the press conference in Turkey, assailing the comments about refugees by American polticial leaders as "offensive" and "political posturing."
More complete quotes to come, but here are a few examples:
"We are not well served when, in response ot a terrorist attack, we descend into fear and panic. We don't make good decisions if its based on hysteria or an exaggeration of risks."
"When individuals say we should have a religious test and that only Christians, proven Christians should be admitted, that's offensive."
"I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIL than some of the rhetoric thats been coming out of here during the course of this debate."
POTUS saidthe same people who have suggested stopping refugees from coming into the country are the same people who have suggested that they are tough enough to just stare down Putin.
"Apparently they are scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America."
"At first they were too scared of the press being too tough on them in the debates. Now they are scared of three year old orphans. That doest seem so tough to me."
Michael D. Shear
White House Correspondent
The New York Times