----- Original Message -----
From: Lucas, Fred [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, November 09, 2015 02:13 PM
To: Lance, Kirsten E. EOP/OVP
Subject: VP Pool Report #2
Pooler was brought into a room on the fourth floor of the EEOB just before 1 p.m. for the White House Roundtable with Fire Chiefs on Climate Impact. It included numerous fire chiefs talking about the effects of wild fires and urban fires with federal officials. Refer to the backgrounder.
The VPOTUS speech was not announced to the fire chief. So the press knew before they did.
A1:07, one of the discussion moderators said they would be a “special guest… talk amongst yourselves.”
People moved in flags behind podium and closed the blinds.
At 1:14 p.m. VPOTUS entered, and those in the room rose to their feet. He spoke for just over 13 minutes.
He said of firefighters, “You saved my home and saved my children, not figuratively, but literally.”
He walked away from the podium, and said he had a speech written, but “as unaccustomed as I am to deviating from my speech.” he was just going to speak.
I wanted to come in and just say thank you.
“There is no more important group in all of America than all of you. You protect our lives. You protect our property. You give your lives and in many cases, you’ve lost your property and have still gone out and fought to make sure more people didn’t die.”
“We can all argue a whole hell of a lot about whether there is climate change. I don’t think there is much of an argument. The only people I know who deny climate change are the same people who deny gravity.”
“The truth of the matter is, we don’t know for certain whether this increase, this up-tempo you guys are going through the last 15 years is because of climate change. I can’t prove any one fire is a consequence of climate change. But you don’t have to be a climatologist, you don’t have to be a nuclear engineer to understand that things have changed, they’ve changed rapidly. The consequence of this change, and I believe a lot of it has to do with climate change, the bottom line is your job is getting a hell of a lot more dangerous and the operation tempo is increasing and there is no likely change in that in the foreseeable future.”
He told the fire chiefs they can’t pass laws or zoning regulations to make fires less likely, but that they still have influence.
“Nobody is more respected in your community. You are more respected than your elected officials. You are more respected than most mayors or councilmen or governors or senators, which I was for a long, long time.”
He pointed to FEMA’s Craig Fugate and said, “guys, he is the best we’ve ever had and I’ve been doing this for a long, long time.”
He said the administration is proposing a rules change to allow communities to be eligible for disaster relief if its hit by a fire the same as if it’s hit by a flood or a hurricane.
Biden later joked, “I know a lot of you guys in here are Republicans, which worries the hell out of me. I don’t know what’s wrong with you guys man. You are like the guys who grew up in my neighborhood. You either became a cop, a firefighter; you joined one of the trades or became a priest. I wouldn’t qualify for any of them so I became a lawyer.”
He told the chiefs to make sure those on the hill “there is a direct correlation with the number of firefighters you have and the likelihood of death or injury.”
Moving on to his last point, he referred again to the text that he deviated from, “I won’t send you my speech, but it’s a hell of a speech.”
He pledged to fight for the next 15 months of the administration to get as many resources for fire departments as possible and said they have a direct line to the vice president’s office.
But also sounded somber message on the increase in fires.
“Whatever you call it, things are not going back to where they were 25 years ago. It’s not happening. You’re going to see more and more of what you deal with. It’s going to get worse. It’s not getting better.”
White House Correspondent
Mobile: (703) xxx-xxx-xxxx