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Press Gaggle by Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton Aboard Air Force One

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
January 04, 2010

Press Gaggle by Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton Aboard Air Force One

Aboard Air Force One, En Route Andrews Air Force Base

11:10 A.M. EST

MR. BURTON: Good morning. I hope you all heeded the President's advice and did some relaxing in Honolulu.

Q As radio pooler, is this audio available?


Q And on camera?


I did note that even though some of you claimed to have been working a long time, Peter Baker grinded out a 9,000-word piece for The New York Times Magazine. So I'm just saying.

Do you have any questions?
Q What does the week ahead look like?

MR. BURTON: Well, this week, of course, the President is going to continue to hear from the agencies who are taking part in the review over the incident that happened on Christmas Day. He anticipates that we'll hear from the CIA today on their piece of it. He'll also be meeting with John Brennan later today to talk about it some, and tomorrow of course, we'll be conducting the larger meeting on the review. But we'll continue to receive reports in --

Q What's the time of the meeting, Bill?

MR. BURTON: I don't know that it's locked in on the schedule just yet.

Q He's not going to have any public events today?

MR. BURTON: As of yet there's nothing on the schedule. But I'm not making any promises on "newslessness" of the day. We know what happens when I do that.

Q Tomorrow will the results of the -- final results of the reviews be published or announced tomorrow at the end of this meeting?

MR. BURTON: I wouldn't anticipate that. If you look what's happened so far over the course of this review, the President hasn’t just waited for all the different pieces to come in before acting. You see TSA has already taken increased security measures. There's already been a rescrubbing of all the different lists. So safety and security measures are moving forward even as the review goes on.

As for tomorrow, I think that there will probably be some new information available, but I wouldn't anticipate a full reading of what's in those reviews.

Q You said scrubbing of the list -- how many names were dropped from the list or added as a result of the review?

MR. BURTON: I would say that if you look at the process that we undertook, people moving from the TIDE list to the selectee list or the no fly list, probably thousands upon thousands upon thousands of names were scrubbed, and probably dozens were moved to different lists.

Q Do you have a -- I mean, if it's not all coming out tomorrow or if it is going to trickle out as it has the last few days, is there a final deadline for when he wants those results? I think he said in his radio address in the coming days.

MR. BURTON: Well, I think he was referring to the Tuesday meeting where he'll have all the reviews from the different agencies. But I think that coming out of that meeting we'll probably have more on what some of the next steps are.

Q We'll probably have what?

MR. BURTON: More guidance on what the next steps are.

Q How about the rest of the week in terms of appearances, do we have any information on that?

MR. BURTON: I just heard from ground control, and it sounds like we should have something together by the end of the day on what the week ahead looks like. There's some moving pieces and things getting finalized, so I don't have anything for you now but hopefully by close of business you should have something.

Q Just one basic question -- will we hear from him tomorrow after the meeting?

MR. BURTON: Stay tuned. But there is, as of now, no travel, foreign or domestic, this week. I know there were some rumors to that effect. I want to put you all at ease.

Q The President was planning on and I presume still is planning on starting a jobs push in January. This is now perhaps being mixed up with the national security issue. What happens next on that front?

MR. BURTON: Well, as you know, when you're President of the United States you've got to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time, so you can anticipate there's going to be a very heavy push to get Americans back to work, to get the economy as strong as it can be, along with some of the other things that we left behind at the end of the year to get finished up here -- health care, financial regulatory reform, things like that. But then also along with what's happening on these counterterrorism measures and Yemen, we've also got issues to deal with with Iran and North Korea and Pakistan. And you can bet that the President and his principals and deputies will all be taking on their full plates of work with rested minds hopefully and we'll be able to make some good progress here right out of the starting gate.

Q Yet you mentioned Peter's article in The New York Times. Have you taken issue with anything in that article or has the White House commented on it?

MR. BURTON: I've only read the first couple of paragraphs, which seemed pretty interesting so far. (Laughter.) So I'll let you know if there are any issues, but the first three paragraphs seem completely fine. (Laughter.)

Q Are you aware of that yourself?


Q What's in the first few paragraphs?

MR. BURTON: Yes. I mean, different people have different levels of understanding of the seriousness, but, sure.

Q You mentioned Iran. What's the next step in terms of sanctions or considering the next step now that it's the new year?

MR. BURTON: Well, the door is of course still open for Iran to do the right thing and live up to its international obligations. And we'll be going through the appropriate process to try to get them to the table and do exactly what they're supposed to do. So I think that this week is -- the national security team meets and the Iran team meets -- that we'll be talking about just that, what the next steps are.

Q Bill, do you have any comment on their defensive military exercises that they have planned?

MR. BURTON: Only to say that Iran and the global community knows when Iran is living up to its international obligations and when it's not, and in order to be a member of the global community in good standing Iran is going to have to live up to what they've agreed to. So without saying whether or not those exercises fall one way or the other, because I'm not fully familiar, I will say that it's in everyone's best interests that Iran live up to its obligations.

Q I'm sorry, did you say definitively whether we will see him today?

MR. BURTON: I didn't.

Q Okay, so that is a possibility that we'll hear from him?

MR. BURTON: Could happen, but right now it's not on the books.

Q How much of the State of the Union is going to be taken up by this Christmas Day event?

MR. BURTON: Well, we're in the process of piecing together what it will be -- a speech that is going to have to cover quite a bit of ground. So at this point, it's hard to say with any specificity. Obviously it will have a role, but that speech is still very much in the midst of an ongoing process towards completion.

Q Do we have a date on that yet?


Q Rough timeline?

MR. BURTON: It will not be next weekend or next Monday -- after that. (Laughter.)

Q Okay. Helpful.

Q In the rundown of what's ahead on the agenda domestically, you didn't mention anything on climate change. I know it seems like a century ago that the President was in Copenhagen, but what about cap and trade? Is that over for next year?

MR. BURTON: No, I wouldn't say so. I'd say that the folks --

Q -- this year, rather.

MR. BURTON: Right -- 2010. I think that folks are still working very hard to get some comprehensive energy legislation done. In terms of specific timing, I don't have anything particularly new for you on how that's all working forward. But, you know, the Senate doesn't get back for a couple of weeks here, and they're the next act, so stay tuned.

Q Thank you.

11:19 A.M. EST

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