Begin forwarded message:
From: "Davis, Julie" >
Date: October 25, 2016 at 12:33:11 PM PDT
To: "Velz, Peter" >
Subject: Travel pool report # , 10/25/16 -- Gaggle and fundraiser departure
At 12:15 p.m., the motorcade rolled from the DSCC fundraiser in Beverly Hills.
During the fundraiser, Press Secretary Josh Earnest gaggled for about 40 minutes, and here are some highlights. Please check against the transcript:
On the new health care premium numbers, he said the "vast majority" of Americans are better off under the ACA, and President Obama has already acknowledged more needs to be done to help those who are facing rising costs, but Republicans have refused to engage in discussions on those or any other strategies for fixing the law.
"The vast majority of people who are purchasing health insurance through the marketplace will not see a significant increase in the amount that they pay for their health care, and that's because the vast majority of people who are purchasing health insurance through the marketplace get tax credits that ensure that health care is affordable."
He said 7 in 10 people will pay $75/month or less. "That's a good deal, that's about the cost of a cell phone bill. That's a particularly good deal when you consider what options were available to individuals on the individual market before" ACA went into effect.
As POTUS described in his speech in Florida last week, "there are some things to address the individuals who are facing the situation that you've just described, and it will require Republicans doing something that they haven't done in seven years, which is to demonstrate a genuine commitment to talking about health care reform in a way that actually makes it easier for people to get health care and holds down the growth in the cost of health care."
He said Republicans have tried for seven years "to find an effective political argument in health care, and they've struggled to do that...I feel confident in saying it's not going to work" in this election.
On the latest Podesta email disclosures that Clinton campaign officials talked about having to clean up POTUS' statements on his knowledge of Clinton's email practices, Earnest said the president had given an "entirely factual" response:
"I can't verify the integrity of these emails," he said, noting that the Podesta emails were "stolen" and had been released as part of an effort "to undermine our democracy."
"The president did trade e-mails with Secretary Clinton, not a large number of them. ...Of course the president had possession of Secretary Clinton's email address, but he did not have any knowledge of where her server was located or what sort of arrangements had been made to store her email."
Earnest compared it to when he trades emails with reporters but is not aware of where their server is located or what steps, if any, their news organizations are taking to preserve them.
"What the president said was an entirely factual response to Mr. Plante's question," he said referring to Bill Plante, the CBS correspondent who conducted the interview. "I recognize that some of the president's critics have attempted to construct some type of conspiracy about the communication between the president and the secretary of state, but they've failed to put forward a conspiracy that withstands any scrutiny, so I guess they're back to recycling thoroughly debunked conspiracies."
On the National Guard enlistment bonuses scandal, Earnest said the president had told the Defense Department that they should expedite their review of the matter, and make sure that service members were being treated fairly:
"His first priority is making sure that our men and women in uniform who signed up to fight for our safety overseas are treated fairly when they come home. When we make a promise to our men and women in the military, we need to keep it."
On proposals by some lawmakers that the service members' debts be waived, Earnest said, I don't think he's prepared to go that far at this point," adding that it might not be necessary to ensure fairness.
In some cases, Earnest said, "the process has dragged on for too long....and that certainly would raise questions about fairness, but each of these cases is unique."
"We're not going to nickel and dime them when they get back we're not going to hold service members responsible unfairly for unethical conduct or fraud perpetrated by someone else."
On POTUS remark to Jimmy Kimmel that we have no idea who caused the Netflix outage last Friday, Earnest said he was merely "using shorthand," and not commenting on the status of the investigation.
"I don't have an update in terms of the ongoing investigation," he said.
On the HFC amendment to the Montreal Protocol, Earnest said he couldn't speak to whether Congress will have a role in approving it, but noted that if that were to happen, if would be after POTUS leaves office. "There will be a very strong case to make to the Senate about why they should approve this agreement if their approval is necessary."
On the attack in Quetta, Pakistan, he said the US will support Pakistan in their response.:
"Our thoughts and prayers are with those who were affected by this terribly bloody terrorist attack...The United States will stand with the government of Pakistan and the people of Pakistan as they confront this threat...We stand ready to offer our support to the Pakistani government and the Pakistani security services as they investigate the situation."
On whether Obama is having fun on this, his last campaign swing as president, in short: Yes.
"Many of you observed over the summer the president's obvious appetite for getting on the campaign trail and making an argument to the American people about the future direction of the country and about the election of the person who will succeed him in the Oval Office, and for months he observed a primary campaign that he was reluctant to engage in, but once the general election started, there was some pent-up interest, you might say, in engaging in the debate. And having the opportunity to travel across the country and address large, enthusiastic crowds who are clearly excited to see him out on the stump is fun. He gets a lot of energy from that."
We arrived at the Santa Monica Municipal Airport at 12:32 p.m. and are lifting to LAX for departure.
Julie Hirschfeld Davis
White House Correspondent
The New York Times
(202) xxx-xxx-xxxx mobile
(202) xxx-xxx-xxxx direct