Fwd: Travel pool #4 -- gaggle

Begin forwarded message:

From: Byron Tau >
Date: June 3, 2016 at 4:31:21 PM EDT
To: >
Subject: Travel pool #4 -- gaggle

White House deputy press secretary Jennifer Friedman gaggled en route to Miami:

On today's weak jobs report: "As you've heard us say many times throughout the past seven years and again today, we don't read into too much into any one month's number. This is obviously something we generally look at longer term trends, and these numbers are inherently volatile. And so, obviously, the number this month was disappointing and fell below expectations but there are a couple of factors involved in that, which is generally volatility. And then, of course, the temporarily strike in the telecommunications industry."

Friedman pointed long term trends that they're focused on: payroll growth averaging 150K jobs a month, a 3.2% increase in average hourly earnings for private sector employees in 2016, and 65 weeks of jobless claims below 300K. She noted that's the longest streak since 1973.

On whether the jobs report contracts President Obama's uplifting message on the economy: "We don't read too much into any one month under any circumstances. ... The fact is that U.S. businesses have now added 14.5 million jobs over 75 straight months of private sector job growth. So what you heard the president talk about in Elkhart are a couple of important things. Some of those were longer term trends that we've seen over the course of his entire presidency."

On whether weak jobs report could have a political effect in 2016: "I think, again, what you heard that president lay out in Elkhart on Wednesday is something that you'll hear him continue to make the case for, both in the weeks and months ahead. ... You can expect to hear those kinds of themes again where he draws a clear, stark contrast in the choice that voters are going to have to make in the coming months."

On violence at Donald Trump rally in San Jose: "I think the president has spoken about this generally a number of times. He's made clear that violence has no place in American political discourse and that continues to be his position."

On Donald Trump's attacks on a federal judge of Mexican descent: "As you've heard us say before, we're not going to comment on every comment that's thrown out there on the campaign trail - both the positive ones and the more egregious ones. But one thing that the president has been clear about in general is his strong belief in both an independent judiciary and the rule of law. And both of those things are central to our democracy. And that's true in all circumstances. And that should also be something that transcends politics."

On Zika, Friedman says she has no updates.

On a lawsuit against the Department of Labor's retirement advice rule: No comment on the lawsuit but "He believes that American workers and retirees deserve to receive retirement advice that's in their best interest and that should be a basic fundamental right. And the rule that the Department of Labor put forth was created to ensure that financial advisors act in their client's best interest, which again should be common sense."

On whether the president has reached out to the family of the Blue Angel pilot who died in a Tennessee crash, Friedman says she doesn't have any updates on whether the president has made a call to the family. "The president sends his deepest sympathies and condolences to the family and friends and colleagues" of the pilot.

On Puerto Rico, Friedman directs a question about funding of an oversight board to Treasury Dept. Says discussions are "still ongoing." Welcomes congressional legislation even if the White House does not agree with all the provisions.

On the 2016 Democratic presidential race and whether the president will pressure Bernie Sanders to end his campaign after the last major primaries: She says that on a number of occasions the president has said that "he believes that a competitive Democratic primary is a good thing."

"We'll have a pretty good sense next week - a clear picture - given the large primaries that are expected next week and that there's going to be plenty of time for him to step in and campaign," said Friedman, paraphrasing Obama's previous remarks.

On Indian PM Modi visit next week, Friedman says more details are forthcoming. "Obviously, there's a whole host of issues where our relationship and partnership is robust and important - everything ranging from climate to military steps we're taking, to a whole host of economic steps that we're working on together."

On Obama's weekend plans in Palm City: "We don't have any additional public schedule items for this weekend." She suggested that the president's activities will be "outdoors."

"Nothing public on his calendar for his weekend," she said.

The week ahead for the president:
Monday: Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos visit.
Tuesday: PM Modi meeting
Wednesday: Travel to NYC for DNC, DSCC event.
Thursday: LGBT pride event
Friday: Meetings at the White House

Please check quotes against transcript.
--
Byron Tau
Reporter, Wall Street Journal
c: xxx-xxx-xxxx
d: xxx-xxx-xxxx

Show Comments