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 San Francisco, CA

Aboard Air Force One
En Route San Francisco, California

2:57 P.M. PDT

MR. GIBBS:  It’s a little bumpy.  I just want to -- just a couple of quick notes, some scheduling updates.  When we land the President goes to -- is going to go to the Westin hotel; that’s our overnight RON.  But about 3:30 p.m. will meet with Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple, for about 45 minutes.  It’s a meeting that the President was interested in having.  I think they last met in -- I'll double-check this -- but I think they last met along the trail of the 2008 campaign.  He’s eager to talk to him about the economy, innovation in technology, education. 

So he’ll do that and go back to the -- be at the hotel for a little bit.  We have one quick stop on the way to the DNC fundraiser.  There’s a -- at Steve Westly’s house, the former state treasurer of California, there is a quick photo line on behalf of Kamala Harris, who is running for attorney general.  The President will not make remarks at that event.  And then we go to the DNC dinner, which we are bringing the print pool in for.  So just wanted to add the Jobs meeting onto the schedule.

Q    Will there be a readout?

Q    He’s not going to make remarks at the Kamala Harris?  Is that print only?  Or nobody’s going in?

MR. GIBBS:  No one’s going in.  No remarks at that one.  We will have a readout of the Jobs event, yes. 

Q    Did you say where the Jobs meeting is?

MR. GIBBS:  It’s at the hotel, it’s at the Westin.  Yes, ma’am. 

Q    One follow-up from yesterday.  Have you heard back from the NSC about rare earth --

MR. GIBBS:  I have not yet.  I'll double-check.  I had not heard back this morning, but I'll double-check as soon as we land.  I haven’t heard anything.

Q    Can you talk about what the President might or might not say specifically on the foreclosure issue at tomorrow’s Nevada event, given that foreclosures are such a big problem in Nevada?  Do you think he’ll address the foreclosure mess specifically in his remarks?

MR. GIBBS:  The remarks I had seen didn’t have it in there, but I will double-check.  I mean, I think -- what the administration has been working on over the past several weeks through FHA, HUD, Treasury and other agencies is to ensure that servicers are indeed following the law and ensuring that if they’re not following the law that they’re held accountable for failure to do so.

I don’t know if that’s -- I'll check and see if that’s mentioned in the remarks.

Q    How important is Harry Reid symbolically for you guys?  I mean, this is obviously the most important one, right?

MR. GIBBS:  Look, I think Senator Reid is somebody who has obviously done a lot to ensure our success in the United States Senate; was a supporter, somebody who urged the President to run very early.  So obviously there’s a lot of respect for what he’s been able to do over the past several years.  And it’s a very important race.

Q    -- announcing that there are going to be some campaign stops the last week.  Did you guys have any announcements on campaign stops the last week?

MR. GIBBS:  I know Connecticut is out there.  Let me double-check and see if they’ve advised --

Q    Illinois, Ohio --

MR. GIBBS:  -- if they’ve advised that.  I didn’t know if they --

Q    -- Illinois, Connecticut.  And there’s a --

MR. GIBBS:  Let me check on -- they had not locked it in as of the last time I talked to them.  So let me double-check.  They sent it out?  Okay.

Q    How has the President felt about the reception he’s gotten so far on this trip?  Has he said anything to you about --

MR. GIBBS:  Well -- no, I mean, look, I think you could see the crowd -- look, talking to some of the guys that have been on the road consistently for the last several weeks, I think the energy in Portland and Seattle was as energetic as they’ve seen crowds in many weeks.

Look, they were loud, excited, fired up.  And, look, I think the reception alone in Seattle, you could see lots of people along the streets waving and holding up signs.  It’s a good sign. 

Q    The President did an event today on women in the economy.  How important are women going to be on November 2nd?

MR. GIBBS:  Well, look, they are -- they’re certainly -- they’re important.  Look, every vote is important.  We have -- traditionally, Democrats have enjoyed strong support among women and I think if you look at certainly what this administration has been able to do, starting with one of the first things we passed was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act -- it’s been something that the President -- issues that the President has been focused on for quite some time.  And I think we'll do well on Election Day.

Q    Some are defecting to Republicans, though.  Some are saying they’re sort of -- because they’re becoming more of a work force staple, that the economy is affecting them and they’re becoming disheartened and they’re sort of going over to the Republican side.  How do you guys feel about that?

MR. GIBBS:  I mean, look, there’s a lot of frustrated voters, men and women.  Look, I don't doubt there’s a lot of frustration, as we always see with the pace of where we are in this economy.  But I think if you look -- go back and listen to what the President says at these rallies.  Are you going to be with the folks that have got us -- that got us into this mess and have done virtually nothing to help get us out, or are you going to support the guys that have been working hard to get the economy turned around again?  I mean, the truth is that's not just a campaign speech; that's the reality of what’s happened over the past two years.

Q    How much trimming back of expectations will the President have to do if Republicans gain a lot of seats November 2nd, or even if they take over the House?

MR. GIBBS:  Trimming back expectations?

Q    In terms of what you want to get done for the next couple of years.

MR. GIBBS:  I think the President, over the course of the past several weeks -- look, I think the President -- what you heard the President talk about today in the backyard event, whether it is leading the way on creating a clean energy economy, whether it’s doing something serious about our fiscal picture -- our deficits and our debt -- look, those are all problems that we're going to have to tackle.

Regardless of the outcome of the election, voters are going to want Democrats and Republicans to work constructively to solve those problems.  It’s not always happened in the past two years, but that's what the American people are going to demand.  And quite frankly, the only way we're going to make progress on them is to have two parties working to solve some very complex issues.  And I think that's what we'll see after Election Day as well.

Q    On Harry Reid, are you surprised that the race is so close at this point?  Sharron Angle is someone who’s made some controversial remarks about Social Security and other things.  Are you surprised that the Majority Leader is neck and neck with her at this stage in the race?

MR. GIBBS:  I'll say this.  I think the reason that Senator Reid enjoys a lead in the polls is because of exactly what you talked about.  I think people are going to have to -- do you want somebody that questions whether or not their Social Security should exist?  Do you -- look at the number of controversial comments that get made about -- just recently, about how students look. 

I do think people make judgments about whether somebody has the judgment and the wherewithal to serve and represent an entire state in the United States Senate.  And I think on Election Day, they’ll register their opinion and make up their mind on behalf of sending Harry Reid back as somebody who works hard for constituents in that state, who’s working hard to turn the economy around in a place that's been very hard-hit, as you mentioned, by housing and foreclosures -- rather than somebody who seems to be well out of the mainstream of where voters are in the state of Nevada.

Q    So her comments about Hispanics should be an issue for voters, you think?

MR. GIBBS:  They are among some of the stranger comments that we've heard in an otherwise strange election. 

Q    A quick question on this special interest spending.  Washington, California, Nevada, some of the states where we're seeing the most money spent on these kinds of ads -- is the President going to change his message or reference that at all in his remarks?

MR. GIBBS:  He certainly mentioned it in Seattle.  I mean, look, I think it’s interesting today when you look at -- I think you saw the money figures that came out for the national parties.  The RNC is down $10 million behind I think where the Democratic National Committee is.  And normally that would be a pretty big story, and I think it says a lot certainly about the RNC, but it also shows you that even with that you’ve got these outside groups that are spending tens or hundreds of millions of dollars cumulatively, without even knowing who they are. 

You’ve got people -- I saw a report today -- people that are giving $10 million just as an individual to get involved in these secret groups that otherwise wouldn't tell you who their names were.  And, again, I think it is pertinent and I think you see in -- if you look at the NBC polling, people are concerned about the agenda of those people that come in, write big checks to influence elections in states they don't live in, wondering what are they looking for in return, and what are the people that they’re ultimately going to send to Washington going to do on behalf of an agenda that is likely to be unknown to the voters when they cast their votes but I have no doubt that will be told to those who get sent to Washington what they needed to do and say in order to make the investment worth their while.

If that wasn’t the case, then you’d know who those donors were because they wouldn't be so ashamed to tell you what their names were.

So the President will certainly mention it.  I mean, it’s definitely a case in Patty Murray’s race in Washington and certainly so in a fairly expensive state to advertise in like California.

We’d better sit down before we land.  Thanks, guys.  We'll do a -- I'll have a readout of the Jobs meeting afterwards.  Thank you.

END
3:09 P.M. PDT