the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs Aboard Air Force One en route Portland, Oregon

En Route Portland, Oregon

5:27 P.M. EDT

MR. GIBBS:  I apologize, my email is not working.  I would have a readout from the AfPak meeting that the President was in for more than an hour today.  I will try to get that as we're in flight.

Also in that readout is -- the President stopped by a meeting at the White House -- the Pakistani delegation is here for strategic dialogue, including Foreign Minister Qureshi and General Kayani.  I will, like I said, endeavor to coax technology into getting me that readout before we get to our destination.  

Q    Their meeting was at the White House?

MR. GIBBS:  That was at the White House.  The President stopped by for about half an hour.  

Q    They were there meeting with Gates and Clinton and John Brennan?  

MR. GIBBS:  Yes, yes.

Q    Did the subject of the trip to India come up in his meeting with them?

MR. GIBBS:  Not that I'm aware of.  And I'm trying to think -- I was in -- not that I'm aware of.  I was in for about half of the meeting -- the AfPak meeting -- where Pakistan was discussed, but the trip to India -- I do not recall.

Q    In his meeting with the Pakistanis.

MR. GIBBS:  I will double-check, but not that I'm aware of.

Q    When he met with the Pakistanis did he talk to them about the cross-border raids?  Was there a repeat of the earlier apologies from a couple of weeks ago?  Was there talk about the Pakistanis --

MR. GIBBS:  Let me get the full readout for that.  I know that certainly in the AfPak meeting a whole host of issues, including border crossings, was brought up in the Situation Room.

Q    There are some reports that China is considering restricting exports of rare earth.  How big of a concern is that for the White House?  Is that something the President has been briefed on?

MR. GIBBS:  I asked our NSC guys to give me some guidance on this.  They’ve seen the reports, they’re looking into it but don't have anything that they could confirm about those reports at this point.

Q    Can you say hypothetically, how big of a concern this would be?

MR. GIBBS:  I don't want to do that because I'd rather get a sense of whether the reports are -- whether there’s any validity to -- which they had not been given at that point.

Q    Was there any discussion about the -- I assume there was a discussion during the AfPak meeting on the reconciliation efforts with the Taliban.  Can you --

MR. GIBBS:  I was, again, not in for that part of that meeting.  I stepped out about halfway through.  So let me get -- my problem is that's stuck in my email, but I'll get that.  I apologize.

Q    Can you address some of the reports that the President has decided, or the White House has decided not to send the President to the Golden Temple because of concerns about him having to wear a headscarf?

MR. GIBBS:  We pick sites on foreign trips based on what the President wants to accomplish.  We've not finalized the schedule for Asia, including India, yet.  We hope to do that over the course of the next week.

We send advance people to many places in each country before we make decisions, in consultation with the host country, in this case the Indian government, about where to go.  

Look, it’s a big country.  We’d love to spend a lot more than the three allotted days that we have in India.  This trip will focus our business on Mumbai and -- in the cities of Mumbai and New Delhi.  But we pick where we’re going to go on trips based on what we hope to accomplish.

Q    What can you say about the timing of the release of this report on women in the workplace, women in the economy, as the President campaigns for two women senators who -- Senate candidates who are in tight races?

MR. GIBBS:  Well, look, I mean, just over the course of the past several weeks, the President -- the White House hosted an entrepreneurial summit.  The President spoke at I guess it was Fortune Magazine, an event on women in business.  So, look, this has been a continuing focus of the President’s -- the underlying -- obviously our underlying work on and interest in strengthening the economy.

So it’s -- the timing isn’t political.  It’s an issue that obviously is on everybody’s mind and I'm sure is on the minds of people of the states that are represented by women in the Senate and those that aren’t.

Q    The polls for Boxer and Murray are tightening.  Is it going to be a matter of getting out the base?  And is that one of the President’s main goals here?

MR. GIBBS:  Well, look, I will say this about our trip across the West and also into Minnesota.  Look, I think the President, as I talked about yesterday, I think will take another opportunity to remind voters of the importance of the election, what’s at stake, whether we continue moving forward or whether we go back to the policies that got us into this mess.

You’ve heard the speech. And, look, I think we’ll see good enthusiasm on this trip.  And there’s no doubt that we’re getting to a point in the campaign where it’s important that the campaigns that have identified their voters make sure we get them out to -- get them out on Election Day.

Q    Is the fact that you’re not altering the message in the speech -- at least that’s what you told us yesterday; I assume that still holds -- does that indicate to us that you think it’s working?

MR. GIBBS:  I mean, look, we think we’ve -- look, I think this is the case that we’ve made for a while and it’s the case we’ll continue to make.

Look, Republicans are the ones that have said they want to go back.  They want to start by repealing Wall Street reform.  They want to start by rolling back the protections in the health care reform bill that ensures that people can stay on their parents’ insurance up to the age of 26, or ensures that if you’re sick you’re not going to get kicked off your insurance.

So that’s the direction that they want to go.  And the President has got a different direction and that’s what he’ll lay out on all these stops out West.

Q    Has the President done enough to make the case to voters what Democrats would do if they maintain control of Congress?  I mean, is he going to have to lay that out beyond just drawing the contrast with Republicans?

MR. GIBBS:  Well, look -- I mean, look, I think we have, over the course of the past two years, laid out what we’re going to -- what we've done and what we’re going to continue to do in terms of strengthening the economy.  The President laid out some very specific ideas on cutting taxes and increasing our investment in infrastructure, to put -- increase construction jobs and put folks back to work.

There are a whole host of things that clearly the President is going to continue to work on and pursue regardless of the outcome of this election.

Q    Can you talk about the backyard event?  Who is going to be there, and will there be questions?

MR. GIBBS:  Let me -- there will be.  Let me get some more details on it.  I know that’s the Seattle event, so I don’t have that up front with me.

Q    And is there a fundraiser tonight in addition to the rally?

MR. GIBBS:  I believe there is a high-dollar event prior to the rally, and I will double-check on the schedule.

Q    What is the President going to be doing in the final weekend before the election?

MR. GIBBS:  We do not have the schedule set, but I'm hoping to have that schedule for you sometime on this swing.

Q    Do you know what he’s doing on Election Day itself?

MR. GIBBS:  He’ll be in Washington.  He’ll be in Washington.

Q    His schedule shows him doing some radio interviews on Friday.  Can you tell us who those outlets -- those stations are?

MR. GIBBS:  Let me check.  I do not have Friday’s schedule yet, so let me check and I'll pull that right before I come back. And let me go rescue my email and see if I can get the --

Q    And on the foreclosure crisis, you have people like Harry Reid who he’s going to help on this trip continue to say they want a moratorium.  We haven’t really heard the President say anything on that about whether he’d be in favor of a moratorium on foreclosures while all this is worked out.

MR. GIBBS:  Well -- and I’ve said almost every day in the past week where we are on that and what efforts are being done through HUD and FHA; what the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force that's compromised of HUD, Treasury, DOJ, and others, our regulatory agencies, which met at HUD today and are looking through the mortgage process, the mortgage servicing process, to ensure that services are following the law.  And we believe that for those that aren’t following the law, they should be held accountable.  We support what the AGs are doing because there are obviously a lot of applicable foreclosure law is done at a state level.

Look, I think we’ve enumerated our concerns with what would happen with a blanket national moratorium.  But I think what's important is to underscore that each servicer must take steps necessary to ensure that their process is meeting the law, and if they can’t satisfy those requirements, then pausing to fix their process is what they should be doing.

Let me try to get Friday’s radio stuff.  I'll double-confirm the fundraising component of tonight, and try to wrest the readout from my email.

Q    Quick question.  The Daily Show -- why did he agree to appear on that?  And is there any significance to that so close to Election Day?

MR. GIBBS:  Well, look, I think it’s a program that younger voters and even occasionally older voters, the 39-year-old age group, catch, if they can remember to stay up late.  No, I think it’s a great way to appeal to a younger voter audience that is a big part of the President’s base.

All right?  Let me go find those questions.  I'll be right back.  

Thanks, guys.

* * *

MR. GIBBS:  Give me a little bit on the radio interview, because I want to make sure it’s locked in and everything --

Q    It’s on the schedule.

MR. GIBBS:  Yes, there’s -- we’re going to the radio interview, so that’s why -- I just want to make sure that the logistics are all locked in before --

Q    Is it a local station or a network, or what is it?

MR. GIBBS:  It’s a national thing.  

Tonight there is a fundraiser before -- it’s a photo line fundraiser before the rally.  No remarks.  He’s just -- people run through for pictures, and then the rally.  But it’s not a separate event.  It’s all right there.

Q    How much is expected to be raised at that?

MR. GIBBS:  I can see if there’s an estimate.

Q    Is there going to be a print pooler contingent there, or is it closed press?

MR. GIBBS:  No, it’s just a -- yes, it’s just a -- it’s just a photo.

Q    Is that a fundraiser for Kitzhaber?

MR. GIBBS:  Yes.

Q    Yes.

Q    Do you have a Yankees/Rangers score?  We don’t have it up here.

MR. GIBBS:  It was 4 to nothing, Yankees, when I came --

Q    What inning?

MR. GIBBS:  I think the 4th.  But the Rangers then had a man on second.  So I can’t -- it’s right there.  They can’t get it right there?

Q    Is he watching the game?

MR. GIBBS:  He is watching the game.

Q    And does he have a favorite?

MR. GIBBS:  He’s not really pulling for anybody in this one. It’s -- Jim Messina, who’s on board, is a big Yankees fan, and he looks more nervous than normal -- how about that?

All right, guys.  

5:42 P.M. EDT