the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Press Gaggle by Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton

Aboard Air Force One
En route New Castle, Delaware

10:02 A.M. EST

MR. BURTON:  Good morning.  Just some information on the service first, the service for Mrs. Biden at Immaculate Heart of Mary, in Wilmington.  Eulogies will be delivered by Vice President Biden and his sister Valerie Biden Owens.  The homily will be delivered by Reverend Monsignor J. Thomas Cini -- that's C-i-n-i.

Members of the senior staff who are attending -- and all these folks are on Air Force One -- include:  David Axelrod, Tom Donilon, Valerie Jarrett, Chris Lu, Susan Sher, Phil Schiliro, Pete Souza and Larry Summers.

Members of the Cabinet attending -- these folks are also all on Air Force One -- include:  Secretaries Chu, Donovan, Duncan, Geithner, Locke, LaHood, Napolitano, Salazar, Sebelius and Solis; Attorney General Holder; Administrator Jackson; Ambassador Kirk and Christina Romer.

Also attending and on Air Force One is Speaker Pelosi.  And other dignitaries expected to attend include:  Senators Kaufman, Carper, Dodd, Baucus and Specter, as well as Governor Markell, Leader Hoyer, Ambassador Gitenstein -- that's Romania -- and former President Clinton.

And with that, I'd be happy to take any questions you might have.

Q    Bill, can you give any more of a reaction to Iran's accusation about the scientist being killed by Israel and the United States?

MR. BURTON:  Those accusations are absurd.  I saw that's what the State Department put out today and it's about right.

Q    Do you tie this into the efforts by the Iranian government crackdown on dissidents?  Does this guy seem to have some kind of connection to Mousavi?

MR. BURTON:  Well, I don't want to prejudge any information about what actually happened here.  I will just say that as the President has said before we stand with folks who are fighting for their universal rights in Iran and around the world and we'll continue to.

Q    Can you give any more details about the budget plans regarding a bank fee for the bailouts?

MR. BURTON:  As the President said, when the financial system was met with a crisis as a result of some risky endeavors the American taxpayers stepped up with some pretty extraordinary assistance.  And the President has said that he wants to make taxpayers whole and that's exactly what he's going to set out to do.  That's one idea that's out there, but I don't have any -- I'm not rolling out any plans here today on the plane.

Q    If the banks are repaying those bailout funds why does there need to be a tax on top of that?

MR. BURTON:  Well, like I said, I'm not confirming that there in fact is that plan in place.  But as you know from what the President has said, he wants to make sure that taxpayers are made whole on the help that they gave to the banking industry to get them to come out of the crisis.

Q    Did that idea come up, though, in any of these meetings that he's had with the bankers?  Like, has he even discussed it with them?

MR. BURTON:  I do not know.

Q    Bill, do you expect the -- any profits from the Fed to be as high as $45 billion as The Post is reporting, or is that number not in line with what you're expecting?

MR. BURTON:  I would check in with Treasury on that.  I don't have any guidance for you on that.

Q    Thanks.

MR. BURTON:  Thanks.  See you on the ground.


10:06 A.M. EST