White House And Press Corps On Gun Control, Pre-Sandy Hook

Dec. 14, 2012: Mass Shooting At Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 11/26/2012

 

Margaret.

Q Thanks. I had a couple questions around President Obama’s upcoming meeting with the Mexican President-elect on immigration and on gun control. And I’m wondering what kind of assurances can the President give the incoming Mexican leader about any improved prospects for immigration reform? And if we can revisit the topic of the assault weapons ban? Is he looking at pushing for a reintroduction of the ban any time soon? Can you tell us anything specific? Is this going to be part of their discussions when they meet?

MR. CARNEY: I don’t have an agenda for their discussion. I think it is something the President looks forward to, meeting the President-elect of Mexico, President-elect Niño — sorry –

Q Nieto.

MR. CARNEY: Thank you. But as for immigration reform, I can tell you that the President does believe, as he’s made clear — made clear I think on Election Night and has frequently since — that there is a real opportunity here to move forward. And the President is committed to that.

He believes that comprehensive immigration reform is achievable, that it requires bipartisan support and that that is achievable, because there has been in the past bipartisan support for immigration reform. And he thinks it’s important not just for specific communities that would be affected by it, but for the American economy. And we’ll be pressing for action on immigration reform. And to the extent that might come up in the President’s meeting with the President-elect that would be his message.

Q Does the President believe that the 2012 general election results give the Republicans added incentive to get on board with an immigration reform deal? Is that something that he would tell the incoming Mexican leader?

MR. CARNEY: Well, I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but I think it is certainly true that there’s been a lot of analysis around that subject. And the President is certainly a keen observer of politics in Washington and how they work, and I don’t think any of us would disagree with the general proposition that there is both substantive and political incentive to try to achieve immigration reform when it comes to the Republicans.

Q And the assault weapons ban?

MR. CARNEY: Well, the President has long supported the reinstatement of that. When he’s asked about this — and was not that long ago — made clear that Congress — that there are issues here in dealing with Congress on taking those kinds of measures.

So I don’t have any update for you on what his approach will be moving forward, but he has certainly supported reinstatement.

 

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 8/7/12

 

Chuck Todd: 

Q Let me ask you about guns. You were very careful yesterday on the Sikh shooting and on Aurora, basically saying that it’s too early to talk about policy. When is it appropriate to talk about policy? When does — does the President believe we have a gun problem in this country, that access to guns is too easy?

MR. CARNEY: The President believes we have a violence challenge in this country, a violence problem that we need to address and come at from a variety of fronts, because it is not a problem that is just related to gun laws. The President believes that when it comes to firearms, that we need to take common-sense measures that respect and uphold the Second Amendment rights of the American people.

Q Are there enough measures on the books?

MR. CARNEY: Well, I was asked about the assault-weapons ban, which the President supports reinstating. So I think, in that regard, he believes that Congress has not, but should, take action on that. But beyond that, he thinks that we are — that we can, recognizing a stalemate in Congress, recognizing the difficulty of moving forward even with something like that, that there are measures he can take, directing his administration, his Department of Justice, to make it harder for those who should not have weapons under existing law from obtaining them by improving and enhancing our background check system, on which progress has already been made, and by directing, as he has since he took office, his administration to work with local communities, local law enforcement, to address violence from a variety of angles, including through education and other means.

So I think the point the President was trying to make in New Orleans, and did make, and that I’ve reiterated from here, is that these horrific incidents, like we saw in Aurora and like we saw outside of Milwaukee, are terrible, but we should not forget that violence occurs in America too frequently all the time. And it is a problem that needs to be addressed on multiple fronts.

 

Gaggle with Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest aboard Air Force One en route Stamford, CT 08/06/2012

 

Q Harvey Weinstein has made some comments recently about the need for gun control. And in light of the temple shootings in Wisconsin this weekend — and he’s talked about the movie industry’s role in glorifying violence sometimes. Does the President have any plans to discuss that tonight?

MR. EARNEST: Well, I don’t know that there will be anything in the President’s prepared remarks this evening. But Jay talked about this pretty extensively during the briefing, about the President’s commitment to protecting Second Amendment rights while ensuring that we make maximum use of the laws that are currently on the books to ensure that people who don’t — who shouldn’t have guns aren’t able to get them.

The President talked about this pretty extensively in his speech to the Urban League a couple of weeks back. But I don’t know that he is going to — that he’s planned to make any additional remarks on that today.

MS. PSAKI: — you probably saw this or you may have been en route — he did talk about the need to do some soul-searching, because of the frequency of the type of events, tragic events, that happened this past weekend and in Colorado. So he did touch on it today.

 

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 8/6/2012

 

Associated Press: Q On another topic, we had another horrific shooting, this one in Wisconsin. And after the Aurora shooting, the President said in his speech to the Urban League that he would talk to anybody, any party, about issues of gun violence and gun control. I’m wondering if there are any plans for him to actually do something about that, now that we’ve had a second shooting in a couple of weeks here.

MR. CARNEY: Well, let me say at the top that the President and the First Lady, as was noted yesterday, were deeply saddened to learn of this tragic shooting that took so many lives. The President made clear that his administration will provide whatever support is necessary to the officials responding to this event and to the investigation, which the FBI, as you know, is involved in. The President also made clear — and this is important — how much our country has been enriched by Sikhs, who are a part of our broader American family.

As you know, the President was notified shortly before 1:00 p.m. by his Homeland Security Advisor, John Brennan, yesterday. Later in the afternoon, the President convened a call with FBI Director Bob Mueller, Chief of Staff Jack Lew, and Homeland Security Advisor Brennan to receive an update. Following that briefing, the President called the Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi, and Trustee of the Sikh Temple Charanjeet Singh to express his condolences for the lives lost and his concern for those who were injured.

On the broader issue that you mentioned, I think what the President said is still the case. He believes that we have a broader issue with violence in America that needs to be addressed from a variety of angles, including efforts that this administration has undertaken to work with local communities to try to get children out of gangs, to get kids out of gangs, to get kids back in school, working with local law enforcement in their efforts to fight crime.

Incidents like this are horrific, and our hearts go out to the victims and their families, and to the Sikh community in Wisconsin. But we cannot lose sight of the fact that there is violence all the time in America and that we need to take concerted action to deal with it.

Q But no specific plans –

MR. CARNEY: I have nothing new to announce. I mean, he did very recently give those remarks at the Urban League and he’ll continue to instruct his administration to take action towards common-sense measures that protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens, but make it harder and harder for those who should not have weapons under existing law to obtain them. Some progress has been made on those instructions with regards to our background check system. And the President will continue to press that, as well as pressing the variety of ways that this administration is assisting local communities in their efforts to combat violence…

Q Does the President share Minority Leader Pelosi’s view that even if Democrats controlled Congress, there still wouldn’t be the votes for significant gun legislation? And is that why the White House hasn’t pushed for new or tougher legislation more strongly?

MR. CARNEY: Well, I think the President has made his views plain on this, which is that he is for common-sense measures that protect Second Amendment rights — very important Second Amendment rights that American citizens have, but that make it harder and harder for those who should not have weapons under existing law from obtaining them.

There is no question that there has been a reluctance to act in Congress on these issues. Whether that will continue to be the case in the future is anyone’s prediction. The President is focused on the progress we can make along the lines I just described.

So again, his positions on various issues I think we’ve talked about. He believes that we can take action within the existing environment that moves the ball forward in terms of enforcement, that enhances background checks, that makes it harder for those who shouldn’t have weapons under existing law — makes it harder for them to obtain weapons, but continues to ensure that Second Amendment rights are protected.

Q But does anything — either one of these incidents suggest that there need to be new gun control legislation?

MR. CARNEY: I think the President addressed this at the Urban League, John. And his view is, as I’ve said, that we need to take common-sense measures that protect Second Amendment rights and make it harder for those who should not have weapons under existing law from obtaining weapons.

I think he made clear, too, in his speech in New Orleans that violence in America is a problem that is greater than just the issue of gun laws. And he talked very clearly about the prevalence of violence in America, that even as overall statistics show that crime has gone down over these last many years but there is still too much violence. And incidents like the ones you mentioned are horrific, and our hearts go out to the victims of such appalling acts of violence, but we should not forget that there are victims of violence every day in America, and we need to address that problem in a concerted way that deals with education and summer jobs and other ways to help address the violence problem in America…

Dan Lothian: 

Q Can I get your reaction to this new ad that Mayor Bloomberg and other mayors have put out asking for the President and Mitt Romney to come up with a plan to combat gun violence? Have you seen this ad? Any reaction to it?

MR. CARNEY: I haven’t. I would simply point you to what I said earlier in answer to other questions about the President’s views on this, which he expressed in New Orleans at the Urban League, and the broader issue of violence in America that needs to be addressed, and addressed from a variety of angles, because it’s an issue that transcends these incidents of horrific violence that we see periodically, and it’s an issue that transcends legislation passed by Congress with regards to firearms. And we need to go after it on every front.

And that’s why the President has instructed his Justice Department to make progress in enforcing existing law and enhancing background checks to make it harder for those who should not have weapons under existing law from obtaining them. It’s why he has, since he took office, instructed his administration to work with local communities in combating violence from a variety of different approaches…

Laura.

Q Just returning to guns for a moment. You’ve said, in response to a bunch of questions, that he supports enforcing — better enforcing existing laws. His position in the past has been in favor of renewing the assault weapons ban, which would, at this point, be a new law. He also said in New Orleans that AK-47s belong on the battlefield, not on the streets. Does he still support that legislation?

MR. CARNEY: He does. And I’ve said that before from the podium in the last week, that he does support renewing the assault weapons ban. I think what I’ve noted in the past, and what I noted here, is that there has been reluctance by Congress to pass that renewal.

Q What’s considered sort of an update of that legislation is the amendment that you were asked about a couple of times last week, which was to ban high-capacity magazines. That’s viewed by advocates as essentially accomplishing the same thing in a better way. And when you were asked about that in the past, you didn’t have a position. Do you have — does the administration have a position on that?

MR. CARNEY: Well, I think the legislation on this issue broadly, whether it’s the specific piece of legislation that you mention — if such legislation emerges, the President will evaluate it, the White House will evaluate it, guided by the principles that I talked about earlier, which is his desire to make it harder for people who should not have weapons under existing law from getting them, and under the principle that we should not infringe upon the Second Amendment rights of American citizens. But I’m not going to speculate about pieces of suggested legislation. If something emerges from Congress we’ll certainly evaluate it.

Q Well, it’s introduced; it wasn’t just –

MR. CARNEY: Well, I know, but — and I think we’ve noted where Congress is on these issues. If something emerges from Congress we’ll certainly evaluate it.

Q And the other thing you talk about on this issue is the national dialogue on issues beyond just gun control, but violence, and you point out that he gave that speech. Does he feel like that speech has sort of accomplished his part of this dialogue, and now it’s up to others?

MR. CARNEY: I’m sure he will discuss these issues again in the future. I think you’ve asked on a number of occasions for specific dates when he might speak again. I don’t have any announcements to make on that. But the President has addressed this on several occasions and I’m sure will again in the future.

Q Does he feel like that speech accomplished its purpose?

MR. CARNEY: I don’t think he does feel that the goal of addressing violence in America has been achieved, and that’s why we need to continue to work collectively on efforts across the board to reduce violence in America.

Christi Parsons.

Q Jay, when the President disagrees with Congress’s decision not to take up legislation like this, he goes out in the country and tries to pressure them publicly, and even shame them into doing that. Is this — does this fall under the same category, the assault weapons ban, or some version of it?

MR. CARNEY: There’s a lot of legislation the President has a position on. He believes — his support for renewal hasn’t changed. I think we all recognize the situation in Congress with regards to that particular proposal as well as others. The President is focused, as he talked about in New Orleans, on doing what he can, through his Department of Justice, to take common- sense measures that will enhance our security by improving background checks and making it harder for those who should not have weapons under existing law from obtaining them, and working more broadly to address the issue of violence in America. Because, as I’ve said now on a couple of occasions, the issue, as the President sees it, transcends legislation relating to guns; it has to do with a whole variety of factors, and should be addressed accordingly.

Q But he’s been successful at pressuring Congress to take up specific legislation. Does he view this as less possible?

MR. CARNEY: Well, I’m not going to grade possibilities here. I think the President believes that we should — with Congress where possible, but administratively where allowed — take measures that enhance security by making it harder for those who should not have these weapons under existing law from obtaining them, but also protect our Second Amendment rights. And he’ll continue to do that.

April Ryan.

Q Thank you. Going back to the gun issue, what is the threshold when this administration will say when it’s time to take the gun issue out of that broad basket of violence and focus straight on — I mean, in recent weeks we’ve had two fatal, horrific shootings. When does this administration take it out of that violence basket and put a spotlight specifically on it?

MR. CARNEY: Well, I think, April, the question, as the President discussed in New Orleans, is not one of specific high-profile incidents alone. And the unfortunate reality is that while these terrible incidents get a lot of headlines, there is violence in America every day.

Q And a lot of it is gun violence.

MR. CARNEY: No question. But that’s why we have to work collectively towards addressing these issues in ways that reduce violence and include efforts to keep kids in school, keep them off the streets and from joining gangs, in efforts to, as the President has done through his Department of Justice, make it harder for criminals and others who should not have weapons under existing law from obtaining them. That’s the kind of comprehensive approach the President thinks we ought to adopt, and that he has adopted in office.

Q But, Jay, many of these acts you can’t police against — many in law enforcement say you can’t police against them. So when you can’t police against something like that, it would seem that the other half would deal with issues of gun control, of the assault weapons ban being — not renewing, but creating a new assault weapons ban. Why not now? Why not now?

MR. CARNEY: Again, I think I’ve answered this question a bunch, but the President’s approach is that we should work with Congress where possible, and administratively where allowed, to advance common-sense measures that enhance our security, that keep weapons out of the hands of criminals and others who shouldn’t have them under existing law, but that protect Second Amendment rights, which the President thinks is an important goal as well.

I think that I can say that that’s the President’s approach. You heard it recently in New Orleans. I’m sure you’ll hear from him again on this issue. But I don’t expect his broader view here about the broader problem with violence in America is going to change because of a specific incident. It’s a broader problem that needs to be addressed from a variety of fronts.

Q My last question — so is the White House Office of Legislative Affairs actively working with congressional leaders, congressional staffers, now on issues of gun control and a new assault weapons ban?

MR. CARNEY: I don’t have any legislative update for you. I think Congress is out of session at the moment.

 

 

 

August 5, 2012: Sikh Temple Shooting, Oak Creek, Wisconsin

Daily Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 7/31/12

Kristen Welker: Q Jay, last week I asked you if the President supported the amendment to the cyber security legislation that’s being supported by Senator Schumer and other Democrats that would limit the purchase of high-capacity gun magazines. Have you had a chance to talk to the President about this and whether or not he supports it? Last week, you didn’t know.

MR. CARNEY: I haven’t spoken to him about it. But I do know and have talked to him generally about his approach to this, which is that he believes we ought to take action on common-sense measures that protect the Second Amendment rights of the American people while making it harder for criminals and others who should not have weapons under existing law — harder for them to obtain them. And I think that any legislation that might emerge from Congress would have to — would be viewed with those principles in mind.

Q Given the fact that the President talked — spoke at the Urban League about the importance of having a dialogue, about cracking down on gun violence, has he moved any closer to deciding whether to hold any sort of gun policy event to open a dialogue about this any further?

MR. CARNEY: Well, I have no announcements to make in terms of his schedule or speaking plans. But I would point you to the fact that he gave that address and to the fact that he spoke about the issue of violence at a higher level, that this is not just an issue of specific horrific incidents like that one that took place in Aurora, but the fact that we have levels of violence that are too high in many cities across this country, and that we need to address the problem from a variety of directions — not just through legislation that relates to guns but through action that we could take and are taking in assisting local law enforcement, local government; action that we can take to ensure that teenagers who might be prone to or vulnerable to falling into gangs are instead in school or have summer programs that keep them off the streets. These are the kinds of things that are part of a broader approach to dealing with violence.

Q Well, I guess, what’s the next step? In addition to speaking about it at the union [sic] league, what’s he –

MR. CARNEY: Well, I don’t have — the President has directed his Department of Justice to continue to take action, common-sense action that makes enforcement of our existing laws more effective, prevents criminals and others who should not have weapons from getting them. And he will, I’m sure, continue to hold the position that he talked about at the Urban League and talked about in Tucson and talked about in the op-ed that he wrote about the broader issues of violence and how we should address it.  

 

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 7/27/12

 

Q And, Jay, domestically, Senator Schumer and six other Democratic senators have offered an amendment to the cyber security bill that would limit the purchase of high-capacity gun magazines for some consumers. Would the President support such an amendment?

 

MR. CARNEY: I haven’t seen that legislation or had that discussion with him. I think as we discussed at length yesterday, the President believes that we need to focus on common-sense measures that protect Second Amendment rights but ensure that those who should not have guns under existing law cannot get them. We need to take a step back and have a broader discussion about the problem of violence and attack that problem from a variety of angles, including through assistance that this administration provides to local law enforcement and local governments, through programs that put teenagers to work and programs that get them off the street, and programs that help educate our young people and keep them away from gangs and away from violence.

 

So this is a broader problem, as the President sees it. But on that specific proposal, I don’t have a response because I haven’t seen it and haven’t discussed it with him.

 

Laura.

 

Q Following up on Kristen’s question, you said that the goal right now is to have a conversation about gun violence. What is the President planning on doing to advance that conversation?

 

MR. CARNEY: I think you heard the President speak before a large audience two nights ago in New Orleans — I think it was two nights ago — on this issue. And I don’t have any scheduling announcements for you, but he has directed his Department of Justice to continue to find ways to make improvements in our background check system and other common-sense measures that we can take administratively to ensure that existing laws are enforced and ensure that those who should not obtain weapons under existing law, like criminals, cannot get them.

 

And then, more broadly, I think if you listen to what the President said in New Orleans and what he said in a hospital in Aurora, there is a broader issue here about violence — that it goes well beyond the question of legislation regarding weapons.

 

Q So going beyond the legislation, what he said in the speech was that he would “continue to talk to members of both parties, civic organizations and other who are interested in this issue.” And I’m asking if he has any specific plans to do that.

 

MR. CARNEY: Well, I have no scheduling announcements to make to you. But I think –

 

Q But can you tell me whether he is planning to do it or not?

 

MR. CARNEY: Well, I would point you to what the President of the United States himself said.

 

Q So he is planning to?

 

MR. CARNEY: Well, that’s what he said.

 

Q So if he doesn’t, then –

 

MR. CARNEY: Well, look, the President will — has in the past and will continue to address the broader issue of violence. He will continue to direct his administration to take steps to assist local law enforcement and local government in their efforts to combat violence. And we’ll continue to insist that we need to take broader measures that assist young people — that ensure that young people get an education and stay in school — that also can contribute positively to reducing violence.

 

So I’m sure he will continue discussing these issues. And I point you to what he himself has said. But I’m not going to give you a date — just like I don’t give you a date when he is next going to give a speech on foreign policy or economic policy, I’m not going to give you a date on which he is going to make a speech about these issues.

 

Q From what I can tell, in between the op-ed he wrote in the wake of Tucson and the shootings in Aurora, he did not publicly address this issue at all. And so, I’m –

 

MR. CARNEY: Well, I’m not sure that’s the case. A, I think he did, in getting asked about it and in other forums, discuss it — on the broader issue of violence. Secondly, in that period, at his direction, the Department of Justice made progress on the very issues that he asked them to make progress on, as we put out on paper and I’ve discussed here and on Air Force One.

 

Q But that doesn’t speak to creating a national dialogue on the issue or trying to find consensus on what he calls issues that should have common ground, common-sense efforts to try to control gun violence.

 

MR. CARNEY: But, Laura, I’m not sure of your point. He just gave a major speech in which he talked about these issues. He spoke about these issues in a hospital in Aurora, where he had just visited the families of those who lost their lives in that terrible shooting as well as those individuals who are recovering from wounds in that shooting. And he will, I’m sure, continue to talk about the steps that we need to take to address the problem of violence, and to address the problem of violence that is with us not just when we have these horrific events that garner headlines, but with us consistently around the country, as he mentioned in New Orleans.

 

Q So having given the speech, he has done that?

 

MR. CARNEY: Laura, you can continue to editorialize, but I’ve answered this question a bunch of times. I don’t have an announcement for when the President is next going to address this issue. He told you that he would and I would take his word on it. Thank you.  

 

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 7/26/12

Ben Feller: Q Thanks, Jay. I wanted to try to get some clarity about gun control and the President’s positions. Since the Colorado tragedy, you’ve been telling us that the President wants to keep guns out of the hands of the wrong people under existing laws. And then, last night, to the Urban League, he said there have been actions taken, but they do not go far enough. He talked about AK-47s being kept off the city streets. And so I’m just trying to get clear — does he or does he not think that any new gun legislation –

 

MR. CARNEY: Well, let me back up a little bit and say that President Obama has called for common-sense measures that protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens and improve public safety by keeping guns out of the hands of those who should not have them under existing law.

 

And, as I think you know, thanks to the administration’s efforts, background checks conducted on those looking to purchase firearms are now more thorough and more complete. The Department of Justice can provide more details on that.

 

I would also say that, or note, that the President made a broader point last night, which is that tackling the problem of violence is not just about gun laws. In communities across the country, the administration is partnering with local law enforcement and government officials to reduce crime, to connect young people with summer jobs, so they spend less time on the street, and to set up programs that steer children away from a life of gang violence and toward the safety and promise of a classroom.

 

We also must recognize that it is not enough to debate the role of government in reducing violence. It is up to parents, teachers, neighbors, and communities to make a difference in the lives of our young people as well.

 

I think that the point the President was making in the speech that he delivered last night was that we have to remember that in the wake of an awful event like the one in Aurora, Colorado, that violence is not an isolated incident in America, and that we need to take a broader look at it and try to tackle it from a number of different directions, which this President has been doing through his administration.

 

Q I get that broader point that he was speaking about more than the role of government and that was sort of part of the coverage. But I’m still not clear about the answer to my specific question. Does he think any new specific gun legislation is needed, or is existing — enforce existing laws is needed?

 

MR. CARNEY: Well, he believes that we can enhance the enforcement of existing laws by making it more difficult for those who should not have weapons under existing laws, make it more difficult for them to obtain weapons. And that’s what his Department of Justice have been working on.

 

I think you’re aware of the fact that there is a stalemate in Congress on a broad range of issues, and this would include this one. The assault weapons ban is an issue that the President has supported the reinstatement of since its expiration in 2004.

 

But, given the stalemate in Congress, our focus is on the steps that we can take to make sure criminals and others who should not have those guns, make sure that they cannot obtain them.

 

Q So just two quick points. So does he plan to do anything, when he talked last night about working with Congress — no stone unturned — does he plan to do anything this year to make another case for that assault weapons ban?

 

MR. CARNEY: Well, I’m not going to make scheduling announcements in terms of what the President may or may not say in the future. What I can tell you is that the President’s point last night was broader. I think there is an issue about the stalemate in Congress, and there are things that we can do short of legislation and short of gun laws, as the President said, that can reduce violence in our society and, as he mentioned last night, in our urban centers.

 

So I think he — I know he will continue to press the Department of Justice to try to enhance the enforcement of existing laws, try to further develop our background check system so that it prevents criminals and those who should not have weapons from getting them under existing law. And he’ll continue to make sure that his administration is partnering with local law enforcement officials and government officials to try to do the things that I talked about at the top that can help reduce violence.

 

Q Last one. You focus a lot on background checks. Our reporting shows that the suspect in Aurora passed all of his background checks. Can you explain how even an enhanced background check system would stop something like this?

 

MR. CARNEY: Well, I don’t think the President ever suggested that the background check can stop every crime from occurring in America, even one as heinous as this. I’m not going to get into the specifics of what happened in Aurora because there’s obviously an ongoing investigation.

 

But we do need to take a broader look at what we can do to reduce violence in America. And it requires a multi-faceted approach that looks at this problem from a variety of angles, and that’s not just legislative and it’s not just about gun laws. 

Q And then one more on the guns issue. These are some of the President’s strongest words yet on this issue. Does he feel like he has shown leadership publicly on the issues of guns during his term?

 

MR. CARNEY: Well, the President’s feelings about this issue I think were reflected in what he said, and those comments and remarks echo what the President has said in the past. And I think he does take a broad view about the problem of violence and how we need to address it. He is very mindful of the need, when it comes to legislation, that we ensure that we protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding American citizens. That is very important to him. And he believes that we can take measures that improve public safety by preventing weapons from getting into the hands of those who should not have them, under existing law.

 

But there are broader aspects to this problem, as I talked about. And that’s why we need to not look at it through one single prism, but to examine ways that we can help address the problem through assisting local law enforcement officials or through the education system, the school system, help keep kids off the street and out of gangs, for example.

 

And the President noted, and as I just did as well, that it’s not just a governmental problem. It’s something that teachers, parents, neighborhoods and communities need to talk about and take action on to make a difference in the lives of those who might otherwise fall into violence…

Q On guns. I’m just asking. No one answered. You made a claim that he said that he has had a record on gun control. What is that? You were saying in the answer to Ben’s question, about the things he has done during this administration on the issue of guns. What has he done? I know he signed a law expanding gun rights in national parks and stuff, so that people can carry concealed guns in the national park. What else has he done?

 

MR. CARNEY: Well, I pointed to the measures that have been taken at his direction by the Department of Justice to enhance the quality of our background checks system that reduces the likelihood that weapons fall into the hands of criminals and others who should not have them under existing law. And those are actions that DOJ has –

 

Q — can you explain it a little bit?

 

MR. CARNEY: Well, I don’t have the paper on them, but we — when this came up earlier in the week, or rather late last week, I think we had something that we passed out to you, and the Department of Justice has it. But they’ve taken a number of measures to increase the sort of quality — both the quantity of information and the depth of information that goes into the background check system. And that has a — that’s progress. That’s positive — it has a positive impact on the goal of preventing weapons that should not get into the hands of criminals under existing law from getting to those criminals.

 

Q Does he want Congress to vote on an assault weapons ban?

 

MR. CARNEY: He supports — and has from the beginning — the reinstatement of the assault weapons bans. I think you know very well that there’s a stalemate in Congress on that issue, as there is on so many issues.

 

Q You put — on the stalemate on taxes, you guys put your shoulder in on that, though, and you said, no, we want a vote. We insist on a vote. We demand a vote. You brought leaders down. Fair to say not the same level of concern on this issue?

 

MR. CARNEY: Well, I would say that the President supports it. He recognizes there is a stalemate in Congress. He believes that anything Congress were to do must cross the threshold of protecting the Second Amendment rights of Americans citizens, law-abiding American citizens. And that while there is that stalemate in Congress, there are other things that we can do and we should do.

 

An action that he’s taken and an action that we don’t often talk about here, but those who cover federal law enforcement as well as education know about the programs that are in place to help local officials deal with violence in their communities, to help connect teenagers with summer jobs, to help keep teenagers off the streets and out of gangs — that’s all part of a broader effort to reduce violence.

April Ryan: 

Q And my last question, please. On gun control, what does this administration and you particularly say to Democrats, like Congressman Ed Towns of New York, who say there needs to be a serious discussion with both sides across the aisle on the issue of gun control? He says that, historically, we’ve seen Presidents killed by guns. We’ve seen urban areas, people killed by guns. We’ve seen civil rights leaders killed by guns. We saw Gabrielle Giffords shot. We’ve seen Columbine. We’ve seen Virginia Tech, and we just saw what happened at the midnight massacre. What say you when Democrats are calling for this, and they’re even — Congressman John Lewis, right after Aurora, even invoked Robert Kennedy, talking about are we tolerating violence and letting common humanity go. So what say you about that?

 

MR. CARNEY: Well, I would say what I have been saying earlier in this briefing, which is that the President is focused on steps that we can take to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them under existing law. And because of those efforts, background checks are now more thorough and complete.

 

There is a broader issue that your question raises about violence in the country and in different areas of the country that needs to be addressed not just through legislation, and certainly not narrowly just through laws affecting guns, but that has to do with education and economic opportunity. It has to do with assistance to local law enforcement and government officials and their efforts in their communities. It has to do with teachers and parents and neighborhoods coming together to address this problem.

 

It’s not — as the President said last night, you have shocking events like the one that occurred in Aurora or at Virginia Tech, but the fact is there are far too high levels of violence occurring every day in the United States, and we need to take a comprehensive approach to that. And that’s what the President is trying to do — recognizing that, in terms of legislation, there are obstacles in Congress, and the President believes that we need to take measures that protect Americans’ Second Amendment rights while ensuring that those who should not have weapons do not get them.

 

Q So understanding this broad base about violence, but still with the incorporation of guns within this broad violent scope, if reelected, will this President push — actively push for the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban?

 

MR. CARNEY: I’ve stated the President’s position on that; it has not changed. What I can tell you is the President will continue to push for common-sense measures that make it harder for those who should not have guns under existing law from getting them while protecting the Second Amendment rights of American citizens.

 

Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Jay Carney en route Portland, OR, 7/24/12

 

Q Jen, Romney yesterday touched a little bit on gun control, returning to that topic. Does the President have any sort of plans in the next several weeks to sort of address that issue kind of in a one big, sweeping thing?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I’ll speak from the campaign side and Jay may be able to speak to the policy here. You heard the President say on Sunday that he hoped that the events in Colorado allows us to reflect on — over the coming weeks, reflect on what this means and what we can all do as a country. He has talked to — this will stick with him for a period of — a long period of time, through to November, and he talks every day about the families and the people he met there.

I’ll let Jay speak to the policy.

MR. CARNEY: Well, I’ll make a couple of points. One, as you’ve heard the President say and you saw in the op-ed that he wrote in the wake of the Tucson shootings, that he believes that we need to take, and we can take, common-sense measures that ensure that individuals who should not have weapons under existing law do not get them. And we can take those measures without in any way compromising our Second Amendment rights.

I would note that the President has long been a supporter of the assault weapons ban, renewing that, and he continues to support that position. Obviously, congressional opposition has been an issue on that. But he does support renewal of the assault weapons ban, a position he’s long held.

Q Does he have any plan to push it? I mean, he made it in –

MR. CARNEY: I don’t want to –

Q — so he had time to try to advance the plan.

MR. CARNEY: Well, there have been — as you know, I think, Roger, measures taken and progress has been achieved on some of the issues that he raised in the wake of Tucson. I can refer you to the Department of Justice or even Matt Lehrich in the Press Office in the White House can provide detailed information on the progress made in terms of expanding the quality and quantity of information in background checks, as well as other measures that have been taken — A. B, and I think it’s certainly possible the President could address these issues in the future. But I don’t have any scheduling updates for you.

Q But since he wrote that op-ed, has there been some — I have looked into it. I talked to the Justice Department, so I know what they’ve done. And there have been some modest improvements in terms of better — making the existing laws work a little bit better. But in that op-ed, he spoke much more broadly about trying to find common ground on this issue. Can you point to anything that he’s done since writing that op-ed that has advanced that?

MR. CARNEY: Well, look, I think the work that the Department of Justice has done on this issue that has resulted in the progress that you noted demonstrates what the President has done on this issue, and reflects the approach that he believes we have to take, which is to seek methods and means that ensure that those who should not have weapons under existing law obtain them, but that protect our Second Amendment rights. And that’s the balance that he seeks.

And his position on broader issues of this nature he has articulated in the past. And I’ve noted that he has long been a proponent of renewing the assault weapons ban.

 

Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Jay Carney en Route Aurora, CO, 7/22/12

 

Q Does the gun lobby just really preclude any sort of policy response in terms of access to firearms?

 

MR. CARNEY: I would say that the President’s views on this are as he has stated and as he spelled out in the op/ed that was published in an Arizona newspaper, which is that he believes we need to take steps that protect Second Amendment rights of the American people but that ensure that we are not allowing weapons into the hands of individuals who should not, by existing law, obtain those weapons. And there are a number of steps that have been taken and a number of others that can be taken to accomplish that goal.

 

I don’t have any — the Department of Justice can provide more details in terms of some of the steps that we’ve taken involving making higher quantity and quality of information available in background checks, and other measures they’ve taken which I know they can provide to you, working with law enforcement agencies. But the President’s view is that we can take steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them under existing law. And that’s his focus right now.

 

Q In terms of like assault weapons or something like that, there’s no renewed push for a renewed assault weapons ban?

 

MR. CARNEY: Well, as you know, there has been opposition to that since it expired within Congress, and I think — I wouldn’t argue with your assessment about that. So the President is focused on doing the things that we can do that protect Second Amendment rights, which he thinks is important, but also to make it harder for individuals who should not, under existing law, have weapons to obtain them.

 

Q Does the President believe that this issue of gun control should now have sort of a larger role in the campaign? It hasn’t really been talked about much before this.

 

MS. PSAKI: I think this stage where this is so fresh and new for so many people, including the people in Colorado, who are still mourning the loss of their loved ones, will be for a long time, many people are still recovering, we’re still learning what exactly happened here and more details — that’s where our focus is right now. And so it’s really too early to say how this will play. And again, we’re just taking it day by day. That’s what our focus is today.

 

July 20, 2012: Movie Theater Shooting, Aurora, Colorado

 

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 1/5/2012

 

Q We’re approaching the one-year anniversary of the Gabby Giffords shooting. And she’s of course going to do things this weekend and mark it in a certain way. And when the President spoke and gave that really moving — by a lot of accounts — speech, he talked about taking steps on gun safety and gun control in the months ahead. Does he have plans of actually following through on that a year later?

MR. CARNEY: Well, I think we — did we publish that? I think we have put forward some positions on this, and I don’t have anything new for you on it. And I don’t have anything for you on the anniversary itself. It obviously was a — I mean, it’s a solemn occasion given that — I mean, it’s a remarkable recovery that Congresswoman Giffords has made, but we can never forget the lives lost on that day.

 

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 7/12/2011

Q One quick one on another topic. We understand an executive order is coming related to a gun-related issue. We’ve already heard from some groups, lawmakers expressing concern that this could be trampling on Second Amendment rights. Do you have a response to that?

 

MR. CARNEY: Well, first of all, I would refer all — you’re talking about the long gun issue on the Southwest border?

 

Q My understanding was changes to the database used for background checks.

 

MR. CARNEY: I don’t have anything. I don’t even — I’m not even aware of that. There is obviously an issue that’s about — which is this is a law enforcement issue about illegal gun trafficking to the Mexicans on the border states is the long gun one, which I refer you to the Justice Department for. But I don’t even — I don’t have anything for you on that.

 

Q Jay, can I follow up on that just very quickly?

 

MR. CARNEY: Yes. I’ll get to yours.

 

Q Does the President believe that a new regulation is going to have a real impact on stopping the illegal flow of arms to Mexico?

 

MR. CARNEY: Well, as the Deputy Attorney General said yesterday, this targeted measure will improve the ability of ATF to detect and disrupt the illegal weapons-trafficking networks responsible for diverting firearms from lawful commerce to criminals and criminal organizations. So, yes, we believe it will improve the ATF’s ability to do that. 

 

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 7/7/2011

 

  Q And then totally unrelated to the debt talks, tomorrow is the sixth [sic] anniversary of the Tucson shootings and gun control groups are upset that there’s no action to prevent such an event from happening in the future. Why not?

 

MR. CARNEY: As you know, the President directed the Attorney General to form working groups with key stakeholders to identify common-sense measures that would improve Americans’ safety and security while fully respecting Second Amendment rights. That process is well underway at the Department of Justice with stakeholders on all sides working through these complex issues. And we expect to have some more specific announcements in the near future.

 

Q Any definition of near future?

 

MR. CARNEY: Near and not far into the future.

 

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 6/16/2011

 

Sam Stein: Q Before you refer me to the Department of Justice — (laughter) — Senator Lautenberg sent a letter to the White House yesterday expressing disapproval with the lack of action on gun policy from this administration and calling for more presidential leadership, not Department of Justice leadership. So I’m wondering what the reaction is from the White House. And how do you push back against the notion that nothing has been done on guns when the records show that nothing has been done on guns?

MR. CARNEY: Can I refer you to the Justice Department? (Laughter.)

Q No, you cannot.

MR. CARNEY: I’m not aware of the letter. So I don’t have a reaction to it, Sam. So I think you know the President did have an op-ed about –

Q Well, that was many months ago.

MR. CARNEY: — gun policy in the wake of the terrible shooting in Arizona. I don’t have an update for you on the actions that we’ve taken.

Q Is the pen mightier than the gun?

Q Can I email you the letter and get a reaction later, perhaps?

MR. CARNEY: You are welcome to do that.

 

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 6/6/2011

 

Sam Stein: Q Last week an al Qaeda spokesperson released a video statement saying something to the extent of a good way to get access to firearms is through gun show loopholes in America. And I’m wondering how serious the White House is taking this statement, and also if they’ve directed the Justice Department to look into the matter. And how do gun control policies stand — I’m sorry, gun control policy talks stand with the administration? I know there was a task force that convened at the Justice Department a little while ago, but we haven’t heard an update since then.

 

MR. CARNEY: I honestly am not aware of the statement that you mentioned, Sam. And I would encourage you to go to the Justice Department on it. We’re very mindful of any threats emanating from al Qaeda and take them seriously, so I’m sure that the appropriate folks are aware of it and acting on it. But I’ll have to send you to Justice for that.

 

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 3/14/2011

Chip Reid: 

Q A quick one on the gun laws. President Obama wrote an op-ed over the weekend and he said, “None of us should be willing to remain passive in the face of violence or resigned to watching helplessly as another rampage unfolds on television.” So the question is what is the administration prepared to do actively, to actively support legislation-wise? For instance, Representative McCarthy’s bill to ban high-round magazines — is that something that the President or administration officials will come out in support for?

 

MR. CARNEY: Well, what I’ve said in the past still holds, which we will review proposed legislation as it comes up. I don’t have any announcements for what we would support. But I would also say that the Department of Justice has reached out to stakeholders on all sides of this issue and they’re going to be holding a series of discussions as a first step, and that some of those meetings are happening this week.

 

So we are — the President made his views known in the op-ed that you referred to. And the Department of Justice is continuing this process by meeting with stakeholders on all sides of the issue to look at ways that we can find common ground to take some common-sense measures that respect Americans’ Second Amendment rights, but also deal in a common-sense way with Americans’ safety and security.

 

Q So the administration wouldn’t put forth legislation on its own or spearhead a plan?

 

MR. CARNEY: Well, I don’t want to speculate about what we may or may not do legislatively, except to say that we are engaged in this process. …

April Ryan: Q Going back to the op-ed of President Obama on gun control — the President talked about the mental competency of the gunman in Arizona, how he could not get into the U.S. military, how he could not get into a college, but yet he still purchased a gun. Is that President looking at any — what kind of ways does the President want there to be issues of judging mental competency in purchasing a gun? Or is that something that he’s looking for in anything — any gun control measures that come along?

 

MR. CARNEY: That level of specificity, I don’t have, April. But I think that his point that he’s making is that we can honor our Second Amendment rights while still ensuring that, as you noted, that someone with a criminal record shouldn’t be able to check out a gun seller; that an unbalanced man shouldn’t be able to buy a gun so easily. I mean, there is room for us to have reasonable laws that uphold liberty, ensure citizen safety, respect the Second Amendment, and that we should be able to find some common ground on some of those measures. I don’t want to detail what those measures are or what he has in mind, specifically. The conversations are beginning along those lines at the Department of Justice.

 

Q Do conversations include gun shows, purchases at gun shows?

 

MR. CARNEY: Again, I don’t have — I don’t want to narrowly define specific measures that may or may not be proposed. We’re looking at possible legislation and we’re having conversations with stakeholders on all sides of the issue.

 

March 13, 2011: Op-ed by President Obama in the Arizona Daily Star: We must seek agreement on gun reforms

Press Gaggle by Robert Gibbs en route Green Bay, Wisconsin Jan. 26, 2011

Q Largely absent from last night’s speech was any mention of specifically gun control issues. When will the President start talking about this? You’ve said that he’s looking at proposals on the Hill. But can you update us on that?

 

MR. GIBBS: Let me say two things. I think, one, look, I don’t doubt that there are a host of issues that didn’t receive billing in the State of the Union that will still encompass a decent amount of time inside the administration in 2011. So first and foremost, simply because something didn’t get a half page in the State of the Union, or a paragraph or such, I think doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not something that people will work on.

 

That having been said, I wouldn’t rule out that at some point the President talks about the issues surrounding gun violence. I don’t have a timetable or obviously what he would say, but I wouldn’t rule that out in the future.

 

Q Then why — isn’t that the best opportunity he’s got all year long, and it came on the heels of — when memories of Arizona are fresh?

 

MR. GIBBS: Look, obviously what happened in Arizona was a tragedy. But, Jackie, it’s happened to school kids in Chicago. It happens in many places all over the country. So, again, what the President wanted to do last night was outline the global economic challenges that we face in a way that he hasn’t been able to do in a while.

 

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, 1/24/2011

Dan Lothian: Q One other question — someone brought something up about this last week in the briefing — about gun control. Do we expect to hear the President talk anything more about that in light of what we’ve been seeing — what happened out West?

 

MR. GIBBS: From a policy perspective, I’ll simply tell you that, as I said last week, I don’t doubt that as a result of the impact of the issues of what happened in Tuscon, that there will be a number of proposals that this White House and the Congress will evaluate, and we’ll wait until tomorrow to see what’s in the State of the Union…

April Ryan: Q And also on the issue — going back to the issue that we raised last week on gun control. Cities like Chicago and Washington, D.C. have gun violence and gangs. And President Obama, being such a loyal native of Chicago and knowing what has happened there, why has he not since being President pushed anything on issues of gun control? Is it because it’s a hot potato issue for Democrats?

 

MR. GIBBS: No, look, again, I think that — first, you’re talking about a series of, in some cases, state, in some cases, local issues in terms of different laws that govern the purchasing of or the possession of guns in those jurisdictions.

 

Look, there’s no doubt that the gang violence that’s resulted in the murders of kids in Chicago and Washington and throughout the country are issues that are important to this administration and important to this President, particularly as you said, given his hometown of Chicago. There have been efforts at DOJ and other places to see what measures can be taken to help those localities deal with many of these problems, understanding that, April, I think the President will be the first one to tell you that laws alone by any jurisdiction or any government are not going to — are not ever going to fully stop what happens to young people who — I think he’s said in different speeches — have a hole in their heart that lead them to do the types of things that result in killing kids their own age.

 

I think those are — these are issues that have to be met with responses not simply at a state, local or federal level, but at a level in — at kitchen tables and in churches all over the country.

 

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, 1/20/2011

 

 April Ryan: Q Robert, on issues of gun control, former Vice President Dick Cheney said that he could see some sort of more restrictions on semi-automatic weapons, semi-automatic handguns. Is this administration going to navigate through the steely, tough waters of gun control in the wake of what happened in Arizona?

 

MR. GIBBS: April, I don’t have a lot to add to what I’ve said I think on a couple of occasions in here on that, and that is I have no doubt that there will be proposals offered as a result of different circumstances that would have happened in Tucson. And the administration will evaluate those proposals.

 

Q Do you agree with what the former Vice President had to say on semi-automatic –

 

MR. GIBBS: Again, I think we’re looking through some of those proposals…. 

David Corn: Q Let me follow up on April’s question for a second. Representative McCarthy and Senator Lautenberg have posed bills that would ban high-magazine — high ammo in guns. Have there been any discussions between those offices and the White House whether that it is a proposal worth pursuing in this Congress?

 

MR. GIBBS: I don’t know the answer to that. I don’t know what specific conversations have been had.

 

Q Given the President’s previous positions on banning assault weapons in favor of some gun control measures, is this something that you think he’d likely support?

 

MR. GIBBS: Again, I think we’re looking through different proposals — the proposals that you mentioned and others — and we’ll evaluate them based on those events.

 

Q And is there any possibility you’re going to be proactive and propose something of your own?

 

MR. GIBBS: I have not heard anything particular in here.  

 

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, 1/18/2011

 

Tommy Christopher: I noticed in the President’s op-ed he talks about baby formula regulations and saccharin, but there’s nothing about guns in there — specifically the ban on high-capacity magazines. Does the President support that?

 

MR. GIBBS: I don’t think that’s addressed in a rules and regulatory system. As I said last week, I’m sure there will be many proposals that will be made out of the events of last week, and we will certainly examine and look at what those proposals are, but I don’t have anything additional on that.

 

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, 1/13/2011

 

Mike:   Where the rubber might meet the road in terms — we’re talking rather philosophically, but in terms of a concrete policy issue, gun control seems to be — you can’t touch it, especially if you’re a Democrat or a Democratic leader in this town. The assault weapons ban is expired. Apparently, the sort of extended clip that this individual was able to obtain he would not have been able to obtain had it still been in force. Where is the administration on gun control generally, the extension of the assault weapons ban in particular? How hard will you push, considering it’s now considered to be a political loser by Democrats?

 

MR. GIBBS: Mike, let me say this, that obviously we are and have been focused on the important healing process. We will have an opportunity to evaluate ideas and proposals that may be brought forth as a result of circumstances and the facts around this case. The President, again, since I have been with him in 2004, has supported the assault weapons ban, and we continue to do so. And I think we all strive, regardless of party, to ensure that we’re doing everything we can to reduce violence. We’ll have an opportunity to evaluate some of the other proposals…

Mara.

 

Q Robert, you said that he has always been for the assault weapons ban. One of the other gun control issues that’s come out of this is seeing if there’s something that could be done to prevent mentally ill people, like the shooter, from purchasing handguns. I’m wondering if the President thinks it’s possible. And has he directed anyone to look into this?

 

MR. GIBBS: Well, again, Mara, I would leave the legislative proposals — obviously, as I said earlier, we’ll have an opportunity — I don’t know if that evaluation on specific proposals that have been introduced thus far has been done. But we will certainly look at –

 

Q Well, sure. But last night he talked about the importance of like examining our assumptions about issues. I mean, he seemed to almost invite a discussion about this.

 

MR. GIBBS: Look, I think what the President said was it is important and it is required of us to look at all the facts and the circumstances that surround these events. And I know that’s what law enforcement and investigators are doing on the ground. And I think we all look forward to learning more about what happened and try to explain the why.

 

Q But he specifically said in order to prevent this from happening again.

 

MR. GIBBS: Again, Mara, I don’t have a lot more than the fact that this is — evaluation of the facts and how we got to a tragedy like this I think requires us to look at everything.  

 

 

January 8, 2011: Mass Shooting At Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Rally, Tucson, Arizona

 

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, 5/5/10

 

Jake Tapper: 

Q And will the administration seek legislation that would allow the government to block firearm sales to people that are on the terror watch list?**

 

MR. GIBBS: I saw Mayor Bloomberg testify to that, and I’ve asked for guidance if we’ve taken a position on that bill or not.

 

Q Can you get back to us on that, Robert?

 

MR. GIBBS: Yes.

Addendum: **While the FBI and other law enforcement agencies already receive notification when a person on a terror watch-list seeks to buy a gun and are committed to vigorously investigating such cases, many people are legitimately concerned that existing law still allows some people on watch-lists to buy guns. The Justice Department is reviewing its options for addressing this issue and for working with Congress to resolve it.

 

Briefing by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, 11/23/09

Q And on a third matter, there’s a conservative gun owners group saying that a provision of the Senate passed — or the Senate — the health care plan being debated in the Senate would require the government to accumulate information about gun-related injuries, that they are then concerned might be used to impact gun laws. How would you address that?

 

MR. GIBBS: I’m unfamiliar with that — with any of that provision. If you can — we can certainly take a look at that and maybe get a better answer.

November 5, 2009: Mass Shooting At Fort Hood, Texas

White House Press Corps On Fast And Furious

Fast and Furious – All transcripts via email from The White House

8/17/2012

Ed Henry: Transparency is important. So if the President believes in transparency –

MR. EARNEST: He does.

Ed Henry — why did he invoke executive privilege a few weeks ago on the Fast and Furious investigation?

MR. EARNEST: We can have a debate about transparency when it comes to Fast and Furious, too, an investigation that Republicans have acknowledged is politically motivated. The point is we can have a transparency debate. We can also have a debate about the proper tax policies in this country. And that’s one that we’re happy to engage with the Romney campaign on.

And here’s the other thing — and this is I think a point that’s important not to get lost — is this has prompted a lot of questions from you and Dan and from other people to the campaign. The fact is Governor Romney has it within his capacity to put all these questions to rest before the end of the day today, which is he can just release the tax returns. He can do what every other major party candidate for President has done.

Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Jay Carney en route Colorado Springs, CO, 6/29/12

Q What’s next for Eric Holder?

MR. CARNEY: He’s going to continue his excellent work as Attorney General of the United States.

Q Can you rule out prosecution?

MR. CARNEY: It is an established principle, dating back to the administration of President Ronald Reagan, that the Justice Department does not pursue prosecution in a contempt case when the President has asserted executive privilege. The assertion of executive privilege makes the contempt matter moot, if you will. I mean, I’m not a lawyer, so I’m probably not using quite the precise language. But it is my understanding, and I would refer you to the Justice Department, that dating back to the administration of President Reagan that prosecutions will not take place under this — in this circumstance.

And let’s just be clear, as I know all of you recognize, that this is pure politics — pure politics. Again, in some ways, remarkably, the chairman of the committee involved here has asserted that he has no evidence that the Attorney General knew of operation Fast and Furious or did anything but take the right action when he learned of it. No evidence. So if you have no evidence, as he’s stated now about the White House and the Attorney General, what else could this be than politics?

 

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 6/27/12

Norah O’Donnell: The National Rifle Association is urging members of Congress to vote to hold the Attorney General in contempt because they say Fast and Furious is part of the Obama administration’s anti-gun agenda. Do you have response to that?

MR. CARNEY: I’m not going to speculate about the outcome of a vote that we still hope doesn’t happen because it should not — it’s politics. And I think that, in many ways, your question reflects the politics of this.

I would only say broadly that the idea behind that thinking suggests that there was some grand plan behind the Fast and Furious program when, in fact, everyone knows the President did not know about this tactic until he heard about it through the media; the Attorney General did not know about it. The tactic itself was employed by the previous administration in a different operation. This was a field office tactic that was flawed. And when the Attorney General learned about it, he took action to ensure that it was no longer used, and he directed the Inspector General at the Department of Justice to investigate.

So the premise behind the assertion falls apart upon even the barest of inquiry.

Q You’ve said that this is part of the Republicans’ agenda to score some political points, this contempt vote against the Attorney General. Does the President agree with former Speaker Nancy Pelosi that this contempt vote is an effort to distract the Attorney General and the Justice Department on voting rights issues?

MR. CARNEY: I can’t really speculate about motivations except to point you to the words of observers as well as the leading House Republican that this is about politics. What underlies the politics –

Q What are the politics? I mean, what –

MR. CARNEY: I think you should ask those who are engaging in those politics. What we know is that this administration has been very cooperative with the legitimate oversight interest of Congress, broadly speaking, and in regard to this matter. The Department of Justice provided an enormous number of documents; provided hours and hours of testimony by the Attorney General and other Justice Department officials; and twice now has made an effort to accommodate the interest of the chairman and leaders in the Republican party on this matter. Unfortunately, they have shown very little interest in reaching a resolution. Instead, they’ve chosen a path of political confrontation and theatre — which, I think, those of us who have been around for a while here recognize this for what it is.

Q What is it?

MR. CARNEY: Politics. It has — as I said before –

Q I mean, this is the first time an attorney general is going to be held in contempt –

MR. CARNEY: Well, we’ll see.

Q — of Congress over this. And the most you’ll say is to score political points?

MR. CARNEY: That’s how preposterous it is. Because it’s not about Fast and Furious. The operation itself, all the documentation relating to the operation itself prior to February 4th of last year has been provided. The administration has endeavored to accommodate the committee and Republican leaders in its request for further information.

The assertion of privilege here has to do with the absolutely necessary action that any President, any head of the executive branch must take in order to preserve the capacity of the executive branch to engage in internal deliberations, both now and in the future, for every administration going forward, for every President of either party, of some party in the future.

Q Is the President concerned at all about the precedent this is going to set having his Attorney General held in contempt? Has he called the Speaker of the House and asked him to reconsider? Has he been personally engaged at all?

MR. CARNEY: I think the Speaker of the House has made his position pretty clear on this, and it’s highly political in nature. I haven’t had the conversation about this with the President in the way that you framed it. I think he –

Q I mean, is he standing up for his Attorney General?

MR. CARNEY: He has absolute confidence in his Attorney General. And what you’re hearing from me are the views of the President and the White House, the administration, that this is political theatre. It is an unnecessary distraction from the work that Congress should be doing for the American people on the economy, on jobs. And I think many Americans — most Americans will view it that way.

Q Okay, sorry, one final question on health care. What if the Supreme Court strikes down the individual mandate but allows protections for preexisting — or allows the protection for those who have preexisting conditions? What then?

MR. CARNEY: Norah, I cannot speculate on all the various permutations that have been put forward by really smart people in the press and in the health care field and the legal field. I think we just have to wait for the decision and move forward after that.

Q Fast and Furious — is the contempt vote worth a stand on principle?

MR. CARNEY: I’m not sure I understand the question.

Q Well, last week you said that the reason that all of these documents in question were not being turned over was on principle, not because there was any sensitive material that was being released. So the fact is that now you most likely will have this contempt vote. Was it worth it? Was the stand on principle –

MR. CARNEY: Well, was it worth it is taking a position beyond — into the future that will have to be evaluated in the future. It’s absolutely worth the assertion of a privilege that’s necessary for any President of any party to preside over the executive branch and allow for the executive branch to have the kind of internal deliberations that it needs to have as it responds to congressional inquiries or media inquiries.

The cooperation that has been extended to Congress on this matter is extensive. Everything about the operation itself — who planned it, how the tactic was employed and why — all of that has been provided in full to the committee. And again, I would point you to the statements of the chairman of the committee who said over the weekend that there is no evidence — he has — after all this, he has what we made clear at the beginning, no evidence — because there is there no evidence — of White House involvement in this.

This was a field tactic that was a bad idea, and everyone recognizes that it was a flawed tactic, beginning with the Attorney General and the President. The Attorney General, when he learned about it, put an end to it — its employment, its use — and instructed the Inspector General of the Department of Justice to investigate it.

And again, we have endeavored to cooperate with the legitimate oversight interests of Congress and will continue to do so. But this is — as a leading House Republican has described it, it is politics. And it is not what the Congress should be up to right now. We know that we have challenges still. We have economic challenges that need to be addressed. Congress needs to finish work on the transportation bill. It needs to take action to make sure that student loans — student loan rates don’t double in a few days. It needs to — it has the capacity to act very quickly on measures the President has put forward that would put teachers back in the classroom or even more construction workers on the job; would give homeowners across the country the ability to refinance their home at these historically low rates. These are things that the American people care about.

The actions taken for political reasons by members of the House that win them spots on cable talk shows do not particularly interest, I think, the American people. And I think the highly political nature of this has been in evidence just by the actions and rhetoric that you’ve seen from Congress — from Republicans in Congress on this.

Q Jay, is there anything that the White House is doing now in these final hours to try to head off this vote?

MR. CARNEY: Well, I think you saw, it was reported, that several senior White House staff members as well as staff from the Department of Justice met with committee staff to try to resolve this. There was an opportunity to resolve this, and I think it was rejected for political reasons.

Q So is there anything else that’s being done that can be done?

MR. CARNEY: There remains hope that Republicans will change their mind, will reverse their decision — their strategic decision to try to score political points. You remain hopeful that common sense prevails here, although you do have to look at the beginning of the year when Republicans announced that one of their chief legislative and strategic priorities was to investigate the administration and damage the President politically. Again, that is not the kind of use of congressional time and authority that most Americans would support or endorse. They’d rather have their leaders in Washington focus on the issues that matter most to them — like economic growth and job creation.

…Ed Henry: 

Jay, on Fast and Furious, I was struck by what you told Norah that you wouldn’t comment on something that may not happen and you seemed to kind of indicate that to Dan as well, that you’re still hopeful, in your words, that they’ll find the right –

MR. CARNEY: Congenital optimist.

Q Congenital optimist. And I don’t want to selectively listen to that, but — (laughter) — heard in that a hope that something could be worked out. But in answer to Dan’s question, you didn’t say whether or not — okay, there were meetings yesterday, but are there meetings going on today or phone calls?

MR. CARNEY: Well, I don’t have any meetings to read out to you. The fact that the meeting that was held yesterday has been reported on was not because we let you know in advance it was happening. We’re trying to — that reflected our good-faith effort to try to accommodate the committee and leaders on this matter to avoid what is a wholly unnecessary vote that is scheduled for tomorrow.

I don’t have any meetings — new meetings to preview for you or read out to you. But I think –

Q Well, wouldn’t it be better if you can today to avoid it, whether it’s the President –

MR. CARNEY: Ed, the suggestion that we haven’t been doing everything we can is ridiculous given that the Attorney General asked for a meeting with the chairman, and got one, in an effort to resolve this; senior White House officials as well as Justice Department officials met with committee staffers yesterday in an effort to resolve this; and at the time — as you’ll recall, last Tuesday the Department of Justice made an offer of accommodation. At the time, Republicans rejected the offer because they claimed to be uncomfortable making a deal without seeing the documents that Justice Department officials suggested they could be shown.

In response, yesterday we in the administration, Justice and White House reached out and showed them a representative sample of the documents that they sought so they could see firsthand the types of communications in contention.

This offer would result in the committee getting unprecedented access to documents, showing how the Department responded to the committee’s inquiry and would dispel any notion of an intent to mislead Congress. These documents are all after the fact and do not pertain to who designed, approved, or employed the tactics used in Operation Fast and Furious or Operation Wide Receiver, or any of the other operations from the Bush administration.

This was a good-faith effort to try to reach an accommodation while still protecting the institutional prerogatives of the executive branch, often championed by these same Republicans criticizing us now. Unfortunately, Republicans have opted, as I said, for political theater rather than conducting legitimate, congressional oversight.

So the effort has been made on a number of occasions. It’s consistent with an effort to try to be responsive and cooperative to legitimate oversight interests throughout this episode. And hopefully — one can hope that Republicans will at the last minute change their mind about deciding to try to score political points out of this. There’s always room for hope.

Q On your point about after the fact documents, you just said a couple of times before as well as last Thursday that — in a briefing that all of the documents, you said, every page related to the operation itself, not after the fact, has been turned over to Congress. After you made that statement Thursday, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley came out and said, no, that they’re aware of a lot of other documents related to the operation itself that have not been turned over by the Justice Department. So you’re contradicting that?

MR. CARNEY: Yes. And I’m saying that the assertion of privilege clearly begins with the period after February 4th, which is when the letter –

Q He’s not talking about executive privilege. He’s saying on the operation itself he’s asked for other documents, and the Justice Department has not turned them over.

MR. CARNEY: I would refer you to the Justice Department for details on what the 7,600 pages of documents that have been turned over. But it is simply a matter of chronological observational fact that documents created prior to that time that had to do with the actual operation — who designed it, who approved it, how it was employed in both Operation Fast and Furious and in Operation Wide Receiver — had been provided because they predated that period.

The assertion of privilege is only on documents post-February 4th, and those documents have to do with the internal deliberations within the administration over how to appropriately respond to congressional and media inquiries. And those are deliberations that need to be privileged and protected because of the separation of powers enshrined in our Constitution. And that is a principle that has been asserted by administrations going back 30 years.

 

Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Jay Carney en route Atlanta, GA, 6/26/12

 

Q Jay, another thing that’s going to happen on Thursday is supposedly the contempt vote in the House on AG Holder. Is there any attempt by the White House to try to avoid that vote or is there any –

MR. CARNEY: As I said yesterday, the Department of Justice is engaged in an effort to try to resolve this. And if the Republicans decide not to have this be a purely political issue, we think that this could very easily be resolved. But it has not been resolved yet, and I think that points to the obvious political nature of this effort by House Republicans.

I can go over again the enormous number of documents that have provided, the hour after hour after hour of testimony provided by the Attorney General and other officials, the fact that the assertion of privilege begins after the letter sent on February 4th to Congress, demonstrating that the assertion has to do with the absolutely necessary internal deliberations within an administration over how to best respond to a congressional inquiry and media inquiries, and not to the Operation Fast and Furious itself.

The chairman of the committee himself said the other day, Sunday, that there’s no evidence of White House involvement in any attempt to “cover up” the Fast and Furious operation, or any involvement at all in the Fast and Furious operation. Unfortunately, to quote a leading House Republican, this is about politics. And it’s a distraction. 

 

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 6/21/12

 

Ben Feller.

Q Thanks, Jay. I wanted to ask about Fast and Furious and the move by the House panel to cite the Attorney General for contempt. Historically, in these standoffs, there’s some arrangement reached between the White House and Congress to prevent a potential court fight that could hurt either side. Can you tell us if there’s any such effort underway right now between the White House and Republicans on the Hill?

MR. CARNEY: I can tell you that we certainly would like to resolve this if there is a good-faith desire to resolve it on the part of House Republicans.

I think it’s worth taking a step back. At the beginning of this year, Republicans announced that one of their chief legislative and strategic priorities was to investigate the administration and damage the President politically. We are nine days away from the expiration of federal transportation funding, which guarantees jobs for almost a million construction workers because Congress has not passed a transportation bill. We are 10 days away from student loan rates doubling, potentially impacting over 7.4 million borrowers. Yet, instead of creating jobs or helping the middle class, congressional Republicans are focused on this politically motivated, taxpayer-funded, election-year fishing expedition.

The problem of gunwalking was a field-driven tactic that dated back to the previous administration, and it was this administration’s Attorney General who ended it. In fact, the Justice Department has spent the past 14 months accommodating congressional investigators, including producing 7,600 pages of documents and testifying at 11 congressional hearings. Yet, Republicans insist on moving forward with an effort that Republicans and objective legal experts have noted is purely political.

Given the economic challenges facing the country, we believe House Republicans should instead be engaged in efforts to create jobs and grow the economy, rather than political theater.

Q So you think it’s political theater. But is there something happening behind the scenes? Do you think there is a good-faith effort that can be had here to resolve this?

MR. CARNEY: As you know, the Attorney General requested a meeting with the chairman of the committee and, while I would refer you to the Department of Justice for more details, made an effort to reach a resolution on this matter. And it is certainly in our — we believe worth the effort of trying to find a solution. But we have to have a willingness on the other side to work with us to find that solution.

It is important for the public to know — the public, by and large, is not particularly aware of this matter — that every document related to the Fast and Furious operation has long since been provided to congressional investigators. And as I noted before, this is an operation and a tactic that was generated in the field during the previous administration that, when it was discovered by the Attorney General, when he became aware of it, he ended it in this administration. He referred it to the Inspector General for investigation. It has been recognized by the Attorney General and others in this administration, including the President, as a flawed tactic that needed to be ended and investigated, and this administration has done that.

What this is about, after all this time and all these documents and all the testimony, is an attempt to score political points. I think it’s a — speaking of flaws — a flawed attempt, because it is this approach I think that explains at least in part why this Congress has the lowest public approval ratings of any in memory, if not history. So that is our view of the matter.

Q Last question. Can you clarify or elaborate on what you mean by every document has been provided when the President has asserted privilege on some documents?

MR. CARNEY: Correct. The issue here is about after-the-fact, internal documents that have to do with the executive branch’s ability to operate appropriately and independently in response to congressional investigations and media inquiries. Everything that has been — every piece of documentation that relates to the operation itself — if the interest here is in the operation — how it came about, its origination, how it was approved, why such a flawed tactic was employed, that has been provided to congressional investigators.

The assertion of privilege has to do with the protection of the executive branch’s capacity, enshrined in the Constitution in the separation of powers, to deliberate independently and respond appropriately to congressional investigators’ requests and to media inquiries.

I would note also that, as I said, the Attorney General referred this manner, when he learned of it and put a stop to it, to the Inspector General. The Inspector General has access to all the documents at issue here, and is investigating at the Attorney General’s request….

Jake.

Q The documents being blocked through executive privilege, are any of them to or from individuals in the White House? Or are they all internal DOJ documents?

MR. CARNEY: I don’t have a way to characterize the documents in question here. I can tell you that long ago, the administration provided documentation about specific questions regarding officials at the WhiteHouse and the national security staff. That was a long time ago, which speaks to — it was last fall — speaks to how prolonged this political investigation has been ongoing.

The point I made earlier is that this is an assertion based on the absolute need for this President, as the steward of the executive branch — not just for his administration but for every administration going forward — to retain the separation of powers, to protect the capacity of the executive branch to deliberate on these matters, and to work independently and appropriately in response to these kinds of inquiries.

The issue here has been the operation known as Fast and Furious, and that operation is being thoroughly investigated by the Inspector General, who has access to all these documents, including the ones that you’re asking about. And when it comes to the operation itself, everything has been provided to congressional investigators. And that is really the issue, isn’t it? It is, how did this operation come about? And it originated in a field office during the previous administration. It was ended under this administration, by this Attorney General.

Q The operation began in fall 2009. The operation Fast and Furious began –

MR. CARNEY: The tactic began in the previous administration.

Q Okay, but the operation — you keep saying –

MR. CARNEY: Okay. The tactic began in the previous administration, and it was ended under this one when this Attorney General discovered it and believed it was a flawed tactic. He then referred it to the Inspector General.

Q The documents that the President is asserting executive privilege and not disclosing — you don’t know or you’re not going to say whether any of them are to or from anybody in the White House?

MR. CARNEY: Again, I’m not going to characterize documents related to this except to say that, on the specific matter of White House — anybody in the White House — and this refers, I think — and you know if you cover this, and I know some folks here have — you know because these documents were provided and are out there and were provided back in the fall — they relate to anybody in the White House knowing about the so-called Fast and Furious operation. Any document related to the White House, anybody at the White House knowing about the Fast and Furious operation was provided — at the time was provided back in the fall.

Q In early 2011, the Justice Department wrote a letter to Congress in which they said something that was not true.

MR. CARNEY: Right.

Q Right? They said that ATF had nothing to do with guns going over into Mexico. That wasn’t true, and it took them until December 2011 to take that back. Is there not a legitimate investigative and oversight responsibility to find out what the Department of Justice knew when they were giving false information to Congress?

MR. CARNEY: First of all, I think that matter has been thoroughly discussed in congressional testimony, including nine appearances by the Attorney General, including the 7,600 –

Q — after the false statement?

MR. CARNEY: — documents that have been provided. The issue — I would refer you to a leading member of Congress in the Republican Party who, himself, called this politics. I think most people in this room understand that this is about politics. It is not about an effort to divine the truth in a serious matter — which is why the tactic used in this operation was used, how it originated, and the consequences of using it.

This administration takes very seriously, the Attorney General, as demonstrated by the actions he took, takes it very seriously. And he has demonstrated his willingness to try to reach a resolution to this matter with congressional investigators. To this point, the interest of House Republicans has been to use this politically, as they previewed for the world in the beginning of this year when they made clear that that was one of their chief goals of the year.

Q Jay, just one last question. The family of Brian Terry, the slain Border Patrol agent at whose murder scene at least two of these guns were found, they disagree with your characterization about these investigations. They say that the Attorney General’s refusal to fully disclose the documents associated with Fast and Furious and President Obama’s assertion of executive privilege serves to compound this tragedy. It denies the Terry family and the American people the truth. That’s a statement from the Terry family lawyer.

MR. CARNEY: Look, we absolutely agree with the need to find out the truth about why Fast and Furious happened, why the tactic that, again, was employed in the previous administration in different operations and was stopped by this Attorney General — why it came about. And that’s why the Attorney General referred it to the Inspector General. That is why we have provided Congress every document that pertains to the operation itself that is at issue here when you talk about the family that you referred to. And –

Q The Terry family.

MR. CARNEY: The Terry family. And that is separate from an attempt by members of Congress, Republican members of Congress, to try to score political points — as Senator Grassley referred to his desire for a “political scalp” — that is separate from trying to find out the truth about what happened in this operation, which this administration has been pursuing since the Attorney General discovered it.

Let me move around a little bit. Steve, and then Norah. Yes.

Q Can you say categorically that there is no — there’s been no cover-up?

MR. CARNEY: Absolutely.

Q There’s nothing being covered up by the Justice Department, by the White House, as far as your involvement in –

MR. CARNEY: Again, the Attorney General –

Q — not in the initial thing, but in the –

MR. CARNEY: The Attorney General referred this matter to the Inspector General. The Inspector General has full access to all documents we are discussing right now — full access. And he is investigating this matter. Congress has been provided an enormous number of documents — 7,600 pages. It has been provided access to the Attorney General on eight occasions, as well as other Justice Department officials and relevant officials to this matter. And this has gone on for months and months and months.

The assertion of privilege has to do with the absolute necessity of retaining the executive branch’s independence enshrined in the Constitution in the separation of powers, to allow it to appropriately and independently respond to — deliberate and respond to these kinds of inquiries. That is an assertion that has been made by administrations of both parties dating back 30 years. And that is the matter — that is what the issue is here.

Again, the Attorney General of this administration ended this practice. He referred it to the Inspector General. The Inspector General has been investigating since that time, and has access to all these documents. …

Ed.

Q Since we were talking about transparency on Fast and Furious, a quick one on Bryson, Secretary Bryson stepping down. He’s now — you’ve added an event with the President and Secretary Bryson. Why is that not open to the entire media and to television cameras? We haven’t seen him since the hit-and-run incidents. Maybe people want to ask a question. Maybe we want to see how healthy he is. Why is it not open to cameras?

MR. CARNEY: Secretary Bryson submitted his resignation letter; the President accepted it. It is a matter — in terms of his medical condition, I would simply refer you to his letter of resignation and refer you then to him and to the Commerce Department for further questions about that. This is a situation where –

Q Well, we’d like to –

MR. CARNEY: — the President is meeting with Secretary Bryson to thank him for his service, to thank him for the months he spent as Commerce Secretary and to commend him for his lifetime of service in the public and private sector.

Q You repeatedly, on Fast and Furious, kept saying that the Attorney General deserved credit for ending the gunrunning operation, but you seem to be leaving out the fact that Agent Terry was killed, and not –

MR. CARNEY: Not at all, Ed. That’s an insult.

Q No, but you’re not mentioning — does he not deserve — the Attorney General — you’re giving him credit for ending the operation. Does he not deserve some blame for the fact that this gunrunning operation resulted in a federal agent being killed on his watch?

MR. CARNEY: Well, the Attorney General made clear and has made clear on numerous occasions, including the eight times he has testified on Capitol Hill with regard to this matter, that when he learned about it, took this matter exceptionally seriously. That is why he ended it, and that is why he referred it to the Inspector General for investigation.

This is a tactic that was employed in operations in the prior administration — during the prior administration. It was a field-driven tactic. It was not something that was generated out of Washington. When it was discovered by the Attorney General he put an end to it, and he launched — or requested an investigation into it. I think that demonstrates the seriousness with which he regards it.

Q You’ve also given the Attorney General credit here in this briefing for turning over — I think you at one point said every page to Congress — 7,600 pages. But my understanding is the Inspector General at the Justice Department has gotten tens of thousands of pages. I think the number is something 70,000 — 80,000 pages. So how can you say every page has been turned over if Congress has gotten about 10 percent of it?

MR. CARNEY: Well, I think you’re engaging in a little selective listening.

Q Well, you said every page –

MR. CARNEY: What I did say is every page related to the Fast and Furious operation. And that is what is at issue here — how did this operation come about, how did this tactic begin to be used — a flawed tactic, which everyone recognizes — including the Attorney General, the President of the United States, congressional leaders of both parties was a flawed tactic and a mistake. And that’s why this Attorney General referred this matter to the IG for investigation.

What is being — the documents over which privilege is being asserted are internal executive branch documents that have to do with response to congressional inquiries, response to media inquiries. Those kinds of deliberations have been protected under privilege as a matter of the separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution by administrations of both parties dating back 30 years.

Q How many pages is the –

MR. CARNEY: I don’t have a page count for you, Ed.

Q Well, why not?

MR. CARNEY: I just don’t.

Q I mean, you have given us no information about what is covered by what the President is claiming executive privilege on beyond the broad protecting advisors advice –

MR. CARNEY: As you, I think perhaps more than others, given the interest in this at your network, knows the administration, principally the Department of Justice, has cooperated extensively with congressional investigators, provided extensive documentation. The administration has even provided documents related to an interest in whether or not people in the White House knew of this operation at the time –

Q But why is there not a piece of paper –

MR. CARNEY: — and provided that –

Q How many pages –

MR. CARNEY: — let me finish, please, Ed — and provided that last fall. And there wasn’t a lot of interest in it because it disappointed those who were trying to make politics out of this.

And here is the central fact of this matter: This many months into it, this many months where House Republican leaders have been focused on this rather than helping the economy grow or helping it create jobs, is that there is no evidence of anything beyond what the Attorney General has said about this matter. And our level of cooperation has been extensive.

Q But when you say, “go back to last fall,” the President’s executive privilege claim only came in yesterday. So why are we getting no information –

MR. CARNEY: Because we made every –

Q — and how broad is the scope? I mean, what does it cover?

MR. CARNEY: Ed, I can attempt to get more details for you, in terms of what it covers. I don’t have page numbers for you. What I can tell you is that the assertion of privilege came at the time when it became clear that there was no intention to resolve this matter, at least to that point, in a good-faith effort by House Republican leaders; that they were committed to their previously publicly announced intention to hold a contempt vote — a highly political gesture, a completely partisan vote; and when efforts to resolve this matter otherwise were exhausted, in order to provide the absolutely necessary stewardship to the executive branch that this President must provide on behalf of his administration and every future administration, this action was taken.

Q Jay, on this question of how far the privilege goes, traditionally, privileges involve either the interactions with the White House and the White House staff, or national security. In this case, it seems to go beyond that. Is it a general thought in the White House that executive privilege — is it applied to all the executive branch, even in the –

MR. CARNEY: Well, Steve, I’m not the counsel, but I think that you need to do a little research. The truth is our assertion is consistent with the positions taken by prior administrations in disputes with Congress that date back to the Washington administration in 1792. The legal analysis is blessed by the career DOJ staff, who have advised both Democratic and Republican administrations on congressional executive relations. And as both historical practice and judicial decisions confirm, the fact that documents reside within an agency rather than in the White House is irrelevant to whether they are privileged.

There are at least five examples we can provide to you from recent history where that is demonstrated.

Chris and then Dan.

Q Jay, in 2007 President Obama criticized former President Bush for asserting executive privilege, for not handing over documents related to the firings of the nine U.S. attorneys. Does he not run the risk of looking hypocritical by criticizing the former President and now essentially evoking the same action?

MR. CARNEY: No, because this President, again, is — after making, through his Department of Justice, an extraordinary effort to cooperate with Congress on this matter of providing thousands of pages of documents, having the Attorney General testify eight times — asserting a privilege that retains the capacity of the executive branch now and in the future to operate independently, as enshrined in the Constitution.

I would note that this is the first time President Obama has asserted the privilege. But as you know, previous Presidents of both parties have done so repeatedly. According to CRS, executive privilege has been asserted 24 times since 1981. President George W. Bush asserted it six times. President Clinton, 14 times. President George H.W. Bush asserted it once. And President Reagan, three times. In fact, President Obama has gone longer without asserting the privilege than any President in the last three decades, which is consistent with the statement that you quoted.

Bottom line is, after a level of cooperation that I think demonstrates this administration’s absolute interest in finding out the truth about the Fast and Furious operation, and why that flawed tactic was used, its origins and its implementation, its efforts to work with Congress to provide it the information that was required under legitimate oversight needs, an assertion was made — because this has become a political fishing expedition.

And it is absolute evidence — and I would refer you to the statements by congressional House — rather, Republican congressional leaders from the beginning of the year, where they made clear that one of their chief priorities for this year was to use their investigative power in the House to score political points in this election year. I think knowing that tells you everything about the motivations here.

Q You make the point that you’ve turned over thousands of documents, and yet not all of the documents that Congress would like to see. So what’s the difference? Why not –

MR. CARNEY: Well, I think I made clear in answers several times to the questions that every document that relates to the Fast and Furious operation has been provided. And others have been provided, as I mentioned last fall, that relate to any knowledge anybody in the White House had contemporaneously about the Fast and Furious operation — again, as part of an effort to cooperate, as part of an effort to resolve this matter in a professional way, not in a partisan way.

Unfortunately, there has been a clear commitment by the chairman involved and leaders in the Republican Party in the House but also in the Senate to try to turn this into a political issue.

And I think it is worth checking in with the American people as to whether they think that is worth the effort — that that is what they what Congress to be doing at a time when Congress could be passing bills tomorrow that would keep a million construction workers on the job in this country in this economy. They could be passing bills tomorrow that would ensure that teachers would not be laid off, and that teachers that have been laid off would return to the classroom. They could pass a bill tomorrow to provide access to historically low mortgage interest rates to Americans across the country, during a period where we’re still very much recovering from a terrible housing — having the housing bubble burst and a crisis that ensued for so many families with regards to the values of their homes.

These are actions that the American people expect Congress to take. They do not expect Congress to waste time on politically motivated fishing expeditions, which this has clearly become. …

 Q Jay, you said to an earlier question that there was no White House cover-up involved in these documents that the President had declared privilege on. And you also said that, just again, that the President is just trying to protect the constitutionally enshrined power of the executive power to make decisions independently. In the documents in question is there any information that if put on the public record would jeopardize national security interest or embarrass the White House?

MR. CARNEY: Well, those are — (laughter) — I’m not going to give you a readout of documents that are under question here and relate to the assertion of privilege. What I can tell you is that there is nothing in these documents that pertains to the Fast and Furious operation. And I would simply note and have you ponder the fact that the Attorney General referred this to the Inspector General for investigation, and the Inspector General has access to all documentation as a member of the executive branch.

Q I guess the question is are you declaring it mostly on principle to ensure the separation of power or is there an issue of national security –

MR. CARNEY: Thank you for phrasing that. This is entirely about principle. It has nothing to do — (laughter) — no, no, this has nothing to do — we have been absolutely clear about the fact that this operation used a tactic that originated in a field office that was flawed, that was wrong, and that had terrible consequences for the Terry family, and should not have been employed. And this Attorney General, when he learned about it, put an end to it and referred it for investigation.

I think that is — long before this became an issue for House Republicans to politicize, this was something that the Attorney General made sure was being investigated by the Inspector General.

In terms of the assertion of privilege, it is, as I’ve said I think on a number of occasions already today, absolutely about the principle. It is not something that the President takes lightly. He does it because it is his responsibility as steward of the executive branch to retain the capacity of this administration, and every administration going forward, to function appropriately and independently from the congressional branch of government.

And I think, again, in answer to Ed’s question about why is he doing it just now: Because we have been working so hard to cooperate and reach agreement with congressional investigators as they pursued their legitimate oversight into the Fast and Furious operation. But as they made clear in their own statements, that’s not what seems to be the motivating factor here.

 

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 6/11/12

 

Ed.

Q Jay, Fast and Furious — the House is moving towards a vote on contempt charges. What’s the White House view on this?

MR. CARNEY: The White House view — as you know, Ed, fighting criminal activity along the Southwest border, including the illegal trafficking of guns to Mexico, remains a priority of this administration. The Attorney General has also made clear that he takes the allegations that have been raised very seriously, and that is why he asked the Inspector General to investigate the matter. It is also why you see the Department cooperating with congressional investigators, including producing 7,600 pages of documents, and including testimony at hours and hours of congressional hearings.

The Attorney General himself has appeared eight times on the Hill, including four hours of testimony just last Thursday. So have several senior Justice Department officials, including the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division and the Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs.

Given the Justice Department’s efforts to accommodate the committee investigation, I can only refer you to the Republican House Judiciary member who recently conceded that this investigation is “politics.” 

 

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 2/2/12

 

Q Jay, what’s the view here of the status of the investigation into the Fast and Furious gun-walking case — the administration’s investigation of it, Justice Department? And what is your response to the growing Republican calls for Eric Holder to resign or for the President to can him?

MR. CARNEY: Well, look, I think the politicization of this — or the politization of this is pretty apparent. The Attorney General spent the last five hours testifying in front of Congress. I would refer you to the Department of Justice for any questions regarding his testimony. But broadly speaking, fighting criminal activity along the Southwest border, including the illegal trafficking of guns to Mexico, remains a priority of this administration.

The Attorney General has also made clear that he takes the allegations that have been raised very seriously, and that is why he asked the Inspector General of the Justice Department to investigate this matter. It is also why you saw the department cooperating with congressional investigators, including producing thousands of pages of documents and the Attorney General making his sixth appearance on the Hill to discuss this. So any suggestion that we haven’t been cooperative with Congress, after six appearances testifying, I think doesn’t comport with the facts.

Q And the calls for him to resign or for the President to fire him — does the President stand by him fully?

MR. CARNEY: He absolutely stands by the Attorney General; thinks he’s doing an excellent job.

Q Is that a new investigation –

MR. CARNEY: I’m going to get to you. I’m going to work around here.

 

News Conference by the President October 6, 2011

 

Jake Tapper.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. Just to follow up on Jackie’s question — one of the reasons why so many of the people of the Occupy Wall Street protests are so angry is because, as you say, so many people on Wall Street did not follow the rules, but your administration hasn’t really been very aggressive in prosecuting. In fact, I don’t think any Wall Street executives have gone to jail despite the rampant corruption and malfeasance that did take place. So I was wondering if you’d comment on that.

And then just as a separate question — as you’re watching the Solyndra and Fast and Furious controversies play out, I’m wondering if it gives you any pause about any of the decision-making going on in your administration — some of the emails that Democrats puts out indicating that people at the Office of Management and Budget were concerned about the Department of Energy; some of the emails going on with the Attorney General saying he didn’t know about the details of Fast and Furious. Are you worried at all about how this is — how your administration is running?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first on the issue of prosecutions on Wall Street, one of the biggest problems about the collapse of Lehmans and the subsequent financial crisis and the whole subprime lending fiasco is that a lot of that stuff wasn’t necessarily illegal, it was just immoral or inappropriate or reckless. That’s exactly why we needed to pass Dodd-Frank, to prohibit some of these practices.

The financial sector is very creative and they are always looking for ways to make money. That’s their job. And if there are loopholes and rules that can be bent and arbitrage to be had, they will take advantage of it. So without commenting on particular prosecutions — obviously that’s not my job; that’s the Attorney General’s job — I think part of people’s frustrations, part of my frustration, was a lot of practices that should not have been allowed weren’t necessarily against the law, but they had a huge destructive impact. And that’s why it was important for us to put in place financial rules that protect the American people from reckless decision-making and irresponsible behavior.

Now, with respect to Solyndra and Fast and Furious, I think I’ve been very clear that I have complete confidence in Attorney General Holder in how he handles his office. He has been very aggressive in going after gun running and cash transactions that are going to these transnational drug cartels in Mexico. There has been a lot of cooperation between the United States and Mexico on this front. He’s indicated that he was not aware of what was happening in Fast and Furious; certainly I was not. And I think both he and I would have been very unhappy if somebody had suggested that guns were allowed to pass through that could have been prevented by the United States of America.

He has assigned an Inspector General to look into how exactly this happened, and I have complete confidence in him and I’ve got complete confidence in the process to figure out who, in fact, was responsible for that decision and how it got made.

 

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney 10/05/2011

 

Mr. Tapper…

Q There have been calls for a general counsel to investigate whether or not the Attorney General perjured himself when testifying about Fast and Furious. Does the President have a reaction?

MR. CARNEY: Well, there has been one call — and I think it’s a biannual call for a special counsel by this particular congressman. Once every six months we hear something similar. And the fact is, the Attorney General’s testimony to both the House and the Senate was consistent and truthful.

He said in both March and May of this year that he became aware of the questionable tactics employed in the Fast and Furious operation in early 2011, when ATF agents first raised them publicly. And he then asked the Inspector General’s Office to investigate the matter, demonstrating how seriously he took them.

Q The question in May was when did he first hear about Fast and Furious? Not the questionable tactics, but when did he first hear of the program?

MR. CARNEY: Look, the Attorney General’s testimony was consistent and truthful. And calls for special counsels, which seem to be a regular occurrence, do not change that fact.

And when the Attorney General learned about the questionable tactics, he asked the Inspector General’s Office to investigate the matter…

Ed Henry: 

Q Thanks, Jay. I want to go back to Fast and Furious because what you said the Attorney General said is not what he said. He said, quote — and this is in May of this year — “I’m not sure of the exact date but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.” Now these documents that Jake was referring to say that he was actually told the first time about this July 2010 and October of 2010 –

MR. CARNEY: Well, you’re suggesting — first of all, I would refer you to the Department of Justice that is handling this.

Q He’s the President’s Attorney General, so –

MR. CARNEY: Yes, and the President believes he’s an excellent Attorney General and has great confidence in him, and we absolutely know that the testimony he gave was consistent and truthful. And –

Q So how does he have confidence in him if he’s a year off on what –

MR. CARNEY: If a piece of paper in a document that’s many, many pages long contained a phrase that discussed nothing about the tactics that are at issue here, I think what we’re talking about –

Q But he didn’t talk about — I just want to be clear. In his quote he never said tactics. He said –

MR. CARNEY: Ed, the Attorney General’s testimony –

Q — the first time he heard about it –

MR. CARNEY: — was consistent and truthful.

Q — and in the document, in July, he heard about it.

MR. CARNEY: Consistent and truthful.

Q Okay, but you’re not addressing the fact that he was not talking about questionable tactics.

MR. CARNEY: I think I just did.

Q In his quote in May, he said, “The first time I heard about it was a few weeks ago.”

MR. CARNEY: The issue here is not the name, it’s what happened and the questionable tactics. When he heard that, as testified, he asked the Inspector General’s Office to investigate it aggressively, and he has cooperated with — the Department of Justice has cooperated with the congressional investigation. So what he’s testified to is consistent and truthful, and his cooperation — both the fact that he believes it was a problem that needed to be investigated is demonstrated by the action he took, and the department has cooperated with the Congress as it looks into the matter.

Q So to clear up any confusion, when was the first time the President –

MR. CARNEY: Again, I –

Q No, no, not the Attorney General. When was the first time the President heard about this program?

MR. CARNEY: Well, as he said in public, in a press conference, he heard about it when he read about it. And that was sometime earlier this year. I think the press conference was in El Salvador when he was on that trip, and he referenced having heard about it recently. I don’t have a specific day.

Q Okay. And Sheryl Atkinson of CBS News is saying that a few days ago, I believe, a White House official and a Justice Department official was yelling and screaming at her — she’s been reporting about this for some time — about this whole story.

You were a reporter once. When government officials start yelling at you, sometimes it’s because they’re getting defensive, right? Why would they be yelling at her?

MR. CARNEY: First of all, I have no insight into the conversations she may or may not have had. Second of all, I know that you guys are all hard-bitten, veteran journalists and probably don’t complain when you have tough conversations with your sources sometimes. Again, this is just generally speaking.

I don’t know about it. I think it’s –

Q But she’s a credible reporter. When you say, “I’m not sure what conversations she had,” I mean, she said this on the record that she was yelled at and screamed at. Why would the administration be yelling at her about this story? I don’t –

MR. CARNEY: Again, I take issue with the report. I don’t know that it’s true. I’m just — what I think is that I know you are tough enough to handle an extra decibel or two in a phone conversation. I’m not sure that that happened here, but it’s a surprising complaint.

 

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 7/5/2011

 

Yes, Jake…

 

Q About the Fast and Furious program — I know that there’s this investigation going on internally — weapons from the Fast and Furious program are now showing up in the United States attached to criminal transactions. The ABC station in Phoenix last week reported on several of these weapons from Fast and Furious turning up. How come we know so little — the public knows so little about this program? And what is the administration doing to get to the bottom of these weapons, which are now showing up in crimes in the United States?

MR. CARNEY: Well, I think there’s an investigation going on precisely to get to the bottom of this. And I can’t comment further on it, because there is an investigation going on.

Q Can the acting head of the BATF be permitted to go to Capitol Hill to testify? My understanding is that the — that he has not been allowed by the administration to go there and explain what’s going on.

MR. CARNEY: I’ll have to refer you to Justice on that. I don’t have any information on that.

Q Is this not something that you guys are worried about and incensed about? This is something –

MR. CARNEY: Well, Jake, I think it’s being investigated for a reason. And obviously it’s a matter of concern and that’s why there’s an investigation. But it would be a mistake for me to comment further on — or to characterize further what happened or how to rate our unhappiness about it from here. So I think that I have to refer you to the Justice Department for that.

Q Lastly, I mean, we have heard at times when the President was upset about something — “plug the damn hole,” is one such anecdote that was shared exclusively with every single person in this room by the White House. Do you — is the President upset about this? I mean, this is a government operation where now weapons — I mean, the Mexicans are upset that guns are now turning up in –

MR. CARNEY: I think you could assume that the President takes this very seriously.

Q No one has lost their job. We don’t –

MR. CARNEY: And there’s an investigation going on, so to comment on people’s jobs and that sort of thing is inappropriate. But the President takes it very seriously. I think he made clear when the — during the Mexican state visit and the press conference he had then that he found out about this through news reports. And he takes it very seriously. 

 

Press Conference by the President 6/29/2011

 

Antonieta Cádiz? There you are.

Q Thank you very much, Mr. President. First, if you receive a mandatory E-verify bill only without legalization, are you planning to veto that deal?

And second, on Fast and Furious, members of Congress and the government of Mexico are still waiting for answers. Are you planning to replace ATF leadership? And when can we expect the results of the current investigation?

THE PRESIDENT: On the second question, as you know, my attorney general has made clear that he certainly would not have ordered gun running to be able to pass through into Mexico. The investigation is still pending. I’m not going to comment on a current investigation. I’ve made very clear my views that that would not be an appropriate step by the ATF, and we got to find out how that happened. As soon as the investigation is completed, I think appropriate actions will be taken.

 

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 6/20/2011

 

Q Jay, is ATF Director Kenneth Melson resigning, and is the President dissatisfied with the handling of the Fast and Furious operation?

MR. CARNEY: I don’t have anything new for you on Fast and Furious beyond what I think I said the last time I briefed, which was Thursday. And I don’t have anything for you on ATF. Maybe ATF itself or Justice might have on that.

Q Melson retains his confidence — the President?

MR. CARNEY: I just don’t have — all I can tell you is that you should take those questions to the Department of Justice. I just don’t have any guidance for you.  

 

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 6/17/2011

Q Is the administration — or does the President have any personal reaction to the investigative report from the House investigative committee upon the ATF “Fast and Furious” program and all the blowback from that operation?

MR. CARNEY: Well, I don’t have anything specific like a quote from the President. I can tell you that, as the President has already said, he did not know about or authorize this operation. But the Department of Justice has said repeatedly that fighting criminal activity along the Southwest border, including the illegal trafficking of guns to Mexico, has been and is a priority of the Department.

The Attorney General has also made clear that he takes the allegations that have been made — or raised, rather, very seriously, and that is why he has asked the Inspector General to investigate the matter. It is also why you see the department cooperating with the oversight committee.

So this investigation is ongoing, and I really can’t comment beyond that.

Q Has the President heard from the Mexican authorities about it?

MR. CARNEY: Not that I’m aware of. I believe the President made a comment about this that I was just referencing when the Mexican President was here.

Q That’s when — okay, that’s when you were –

MR. CARNEY: So I don’t — I mean, it certainly came up in that room when it was –

Q But I mean specifically this week with the report being issued.

MR. CARNEY: I don’t believe so. I’m not aware of any conversation like that.

 

 

Fox News’ Primetime Viewership Hits Lowest Level Since Before 2008 Election

There is a strain of conventional wisdom in the conservative media which says that pushing back against an Obama presidency is good for business, but historical monthly ratings figures from Nielsen Media Research seems to indicate a point of diminished returns for Fox News’ primetime lineup of right-leaning opinion shows. With the general election between President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney heating up, Fox primetime has posted its lowest average monthly viewers since July of 2008.

According to Nielsen’s monthly ratings, Fox News’ 8pm-11pm primetime lineup averaged 2,010,000 total viewers and 399,000 viewers in the 25-54 demographic in May, both the network’s lowest figures since July of 2008, when the numbers were 1,687,000 total viewers and 364,000 in the demo. That was just before ratings soared due to unprecedented interest in the 2008 election, more than doubling those July lows in October:

As the chart above indicates, the month of May is usually a soft one, ratings-wise, but even given that trend, Fox primetime is off 21% in the demo from last May, which was, at the time, the network’s lowest May showing since President Obama’s election.

That doesn’t mean it’s time to panic and sell off your collection of Sean Hannity memorabilia, Fox News still dominates cable news ratings by a Kenyan mile. From my perspective, ratings also don’t say much about influence or quality. If they did, we’d be ignoring all news programming in favor of Pat Sajak.

But it does seem to indicate that something is going on. It’s not as if the anti-Obama market has suddenly dried up, and the other networks don’t seem to be picking up these viewers. It’s possible that Fox News has become something of a victim of its own success.

First, there’s the recent Pew study which found that the press gave twice as much favorable coverage to Mitt Romney as to President Obama. Whereas Fox News primetime used to be the one-stop shop for your NObama fix, the rest of the media has apparently glommed on for its share of that pie.

But there’s something else that’s different from 2008, something more difficult to precisely measure. While the left clearly got the jump on the right in mobilizing and utilizing the blogosphere in the early aughts, conservatives have been much more engaged and active on Twitter, which, apart from being a social network, is also a 140-character personalized newsroom. All of the cable networks have had to contend with new media bleeding off viewership, but since conservatives have especially taken to Twitter in the years since the President’s election, an outlet like Fox News might be feeling the delayed effect of that migration.

Follow Tommy Christopher (@TommyXtopher) on Twitter.

Will Cain Email Exchange

I posted excerpts from an email exchange with Will Cain this evening. In the interest of preserving all relevant context, I’m publishing the exchange, in full, below:

Tommy Christopher: Just to clarify what you said on the show this morning, you personally support gay marriage, right?

Will Cain: I did say that, yes.

Tommy Christopher: And you said that opposition to marriage equality isn’t bigotry, in effect. If i heard you right, how do you figure? Its the subject of the column I’m doing.

Will Cain: 

No. I don’t think I said that. It’s hard to remember and I pause because I could have said that in a more thoughtful and complex conversation. But this was a quick TV conversation. Did John introduce bigotry?
 
Here is what I’d say: this morning I was first seeking accuracy, because I saw the language of multiple stories saying that Grenell was pressured out for being “openly gay.” I do not think this is what happened and reinforces the narrative that many want to perpetuate – that conservatism and Republicanism is hostile to gay people…period. I tried to point out that Grenell has been open and gay and Republican for some time.
Rather what the pressure was about, was that Grenell was a dedicated gay marriage advocate. (At least from reading Matthew Franck.) This criticism of Grenell makes no sense to me, nor to other conservatives. I would offer his internal debate on NR with Kevin Williamson as an example. I personally wish conservatives would embrace gay marriage. But even if they won’t, it seems stupid that someone’s dedication to that issue infects their other positions – kinda Franck’s argument. Anyway – I was trying to point out the Grenell issue is about gay marriage advocacy, not for being “openly gay.” Also – it’s possible the Grenell issue isn’t even about gay marriage advocacy. Can you imagine someone would resign bc of a few conservative bloggers? I wouldn’t be surprised it this had more to do with how he conducted himself on Twitter.
 
Back to your original question. I think it’s possible to be opposed to gay marriage without relying on bigotry or religious zealotry. I think there is a Burkean-traditionalist, cultural-mores-should-change-slowly argument. I also think there is an arbitrariness to the definition of marriage that isn’t resolved by simply encompassing same sex couples. In the end, I don’t personally find these arguments compelling – thus I support gay marriage. But I recognize they aren’t based in bigotry. (I don’t think I waded into these waters on TV today. Basically I was focused on the middle paragraph here.
 
Does this help?
Thanks,
Will

Tommy Christopher: You’re right, I was paraphrasing. Here’s what you said: ” this is not about republicans or mitt romney’s campaign being unaccepting of gay people. that’s not what this is about. “

 
I guess I don’t understand how you can see “accepting gay people” as co-existing with opposition to marriage equality. To me, it’d be like, say, a Jim Crow-era politician being “accepting” of black people, as long as they weren’t opposed to segregation. 

Will Cain: 

Can you be “accepting” of gay people and oppose gay marriage? I don’t know. Uncomfortably maybe. But by this standard virtually all politicians and political parties fail. Is the Dem party unaccepting of gay people?
In the end, I obviously think the gop is on the wrong side of this issue. But this morning I was striving for accuracy, not to save a party or a candidate. And I feel like the narrative is becoming Romney didn’t want (bc some bloggers didn’t want) to be “associated” with an openly gay dude. When we repeat “resigned for being openly gay” that’s what we’re saying.
That’s all I was pressing upon. 

Tommy Christopher: No, I get that. I guess I feel like that’s two ways of saying the same thing. I thought what you said was interesting, in that I think a lot of conservatives compartmentalize being anti-gay away from being anti-marriage equality. I am really glad to hear you’re on the right side of this.

George Zimmerman MySpace Page

 

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Blurbs

About me:

Moved out of Manassas VA (d.c. suburb) about 4 years ago, alot of people say they hate it but i cant ever say i hate home. Miss my boys from back home, no one is gonna have your back like your boys who grew up with you and are as scared of your momma as you are! You know who you are, the same ones that would come ova and have my pops tie your tie before every school dance and interview. I know alot of yall hatin cause im out and aint ever goin back, i used to look at people like me the same way. Can you really hate on someone for improving thier life? I love the fact that I can still go back home and crash on my boys couch as if i had never left, I can hit my boy up to handle a lil somethin with my sister and he’s at my house with his boys on bikes before i hang up with her! They do a year and dont ever open thier mouth to get my ass pinched. My cousins the cruzado’s damn i love yall, shirley and frank DONT PLAY! I gotta be honest I miss that. I dont miss driving around scared to hit mexicans walkin on the side of the street, soft ass wanna be thugs messin with peoples cars when they aint around (what are you provin, that you can dent a car when no ones watchin) dont make you a man in my book. Workin 96 hours to get a decent pay check, gettin knifes pulled on you by every mexican you run into! Im down here now opened my own insurance agency, small but its mine. I put my grandma’s name on it so that she could see its hers too, who knows here i would be with out her. MY VA SHOUTOUTS!!!!! Of course my two brothers Mauricio (in japan w/ marines and Barret (if i cant see you, you cant see me!), jade(thank god donovan takes after you), ashley (keep that bot inline), anthony(love you nephew), luis (thought you would be more chill after the marines), krista (you know your wrong for not commin to see me yet!), nikky( so damn sexy!), tony(this kid is a p.i.m.p), nick(phatest rides for sure), walter (we need to go fisin again),shirley(“im wrkin y did you call and wake me up”), frank the tank (thanks aint enough cuz), karen (I miss ya),kristy(i really miss you!),Lauren (i can never pay you back for being such a good freind to my family),lisa(damn i hate growin up, but at least we did it together), michelle( you know i still love ya), sharon(Too much fun in jax), MY FL SHOUTOUTS Mike who(my brother from another mother), Lauren(ms. L Boogey), christine(miss ya lil sis), Wesley(y ya have to go and do that!!!), cortez(i dont want you in my house anymore), L-wood(Dont get married again lil bro),T( jamacian beef patty have two ingredients, beef and patty!!), Al(I got your chris farley), jhonny(dont break my knee caps), ricky(only comes ova to use hair gel), HAHAHAHA!!!!!!!! Bet ya thought i forgot about you….. Just savin the best for last, I love you Gracie, but you already knew that, I know you gave up alot to be near me, but you gotta admit you gained alot too, Only person thats always, ALWAYS been there for me, I love ya, oh yea, my lil sista hits like a grown MOTHER FUCKIN MAN!!!!

Who I’d like to meet:

Friends, let me be specific…. Tru friends

Details

  • Status: Single
  • Here for: Networking, Dating, Serious Relationships, Friends
  • Hometown: Manassas ( D.C. Suburb)
  • Orientation: Straight
  • Height: 5′ 10″
  • Ethnicity: Latino / Hispanic
  • Religion: Catholic
  • Zodiac Sign: Libra
  • Children: Someday
  • Smoke / Drink: No / Yes
  • Education: High school
  • Occupation: Sales
  • Income: $45,000 to $60,000

Schools

  • Osbourn High

    • Manassas,Virginia
    • Graduated: 2001
    • Student status: Alumni
    • Degree: High School Diploma
    1999 to 2001
     

Companies

  • Zimmerman, Tamayo & Associates

    • Orlando, Fl US
    • Co-C.E.O.
     
     



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  • Aug 30, 2005

    Good news???? Bout Damn time!!!!!!!

     

    2 felonies dropped to 1 misdemeanor!!!!!!!!!!! The man knows he was wrong but still got this hump, Thanks to everyone friends and fam, G baby you know your my rock!

    5:49 PM
    • Post a comment…
      • *Superstar*

        hey i was browsing through blogs and just ran into yours, and you know what, i was thinking the same thing as you, thanks for writing it, but yeah iNEED to let you know that you can get mp3 quality ring-tones featuring all the top artists sent instantly to your phone, youll love it, go here and enjoy PS, let me know what ones you picked K? 

        4 years ago

     
  • Aug 24, 2005

    Out come of first case……

     

    Im still free! The ex hoe tried her hardest, but the judge saw through it! Big Mike, reppin the Dverse security makin me look a million bucks, broke her down! Thanks to everyone for checkin up on me! Stay tuned for the A.T.F. charges……

Keith Olbermann Invites Occupy Protesters To Andrew Breitbart Event

On Thursday night’s edition of Current TV’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann, host Keith Olbermann delivered another in his series of “Andy Breitbart Video Rage Mashups,” in which Andrew Breitbart‘s meltdown (not a literal meltdown; Andrew Breitbart is a person, not a nuclear facility) at CPAC is edited together with scenes from Hollywood movies, in this case, The Big Lebowski. While introducing the segment, Olbermann said that Breitbart would be appearing at a Republican event at the San Marino Club in Troy, Michigan on Saturday, “in case any local Occupy groups would like to see what kind of self-immolation they can inspire this time.”

Olbermann wasn’t suggesting that Breitbart would literally set himself on fire, of course. He was using wordplay and hyperbole to convey the message that Breitbart’s behavior toward the Occupy protesters in Washington, DC had been explosive in a metaphoric sense, and that perhaps the appearance of Occupy protesters in Michigan would precipitate a similar outburst.

He went on to instruct the Occupy groups to “bring your videotape recordings,” by which he likely meant any video recording device. Most common video recording devices don’t use tape anymore, but rather, some form of digital memory, and he seems to have misspoken when he said “recordings,” and likely meant to say “recorders.”

The segment was part of Olbermann’s regular Worst Persons segment, in which he uses wordplay and hyperbole on three selected people each day, to convey the message that he views their actions negatively. He doesn’t literally think they’re the worst people in the world. The others to be so honored (using “honored” in the sarcastic sense; being named “Worst Person” is generally not considered an honor) last night were Indiana state Rep. Bob Morris (R–Allen County) for his political attack on the Girl Scouts,and Wisconsin state Rep. Joel Kleefisch for casting votes on behalf of his absent colleagues, a violation of Wisconsin Assembly rules.

Here’s the clip, from Current TV:

Twitter Chat Eric Bolling Tommy Christopher

ericbolling ericbolling

Is ABC racist? Or USA Today? or just me because I work for Fox?…http://fb.me/H3J4Kn7D

12 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

tommyxtopher Tommy Christopher

@ericbolling Maybe this will clear it up for you http://bit.ly/l5FRqv I don’t think ABC or USA Today did the same, did they?

11 hours ago Favorite Reply Delete

ericbolling ericbolling

@tommyxtopher I expect that treatment from the liberal blogs.. not you guys. M has always been fair, objective. nasty name was cheap shot!

11 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

tommyxtopher Tommy Christopher

@
@ericbolling Well, I am the “Hizzouse” liberal, so don’t blame the whole site. Besides, that headline was funny, you gotta admit that.
11 hours ago Favorite Reply Delete

ericbolling ericbolling

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@tommyxtopher just doing your job, I guess…
11 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

tommyxtopher Tommy Christopher

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@ericbolling So, if “no intent,” what other Prizzezidentz have you employed hip-hop parlance on? I’m prepared to admit I’m wrong.
11 hours ago Favorite Reply Delete

tommyxtopher Tommy Christopher

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@ericbolling Wait, and how was I unfair?
11 hours ago Favorite Reply Delete

ericbolling ericbolling

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@tommyxtopher I do opinion at 10! btw-I may be a “liberalist” but DEF not a racist. If you took the time to know me/the show, you’d get that
11 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

tommyxtopher Tommy Christopher

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@ericbolling Never said you were a racist, but would appreciate an answer to two fair questions.
11 hours ago Favorite Reply Delete

ericbolling ericbolling

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@tommyxtopher Stewart/Maher use these terms all the time, but because they’re libs , they’re funny… I use the same words and I’m a “tool”
11 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

tommyxtopher Tommy Christopher

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@ericbolling So, are you saying you were referencing his race, but you think it’s okay because Stewart/Maher do, also?
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ericbolling ericbolling

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11 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

tommyxtopher Tommy Christopher

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@ericbolling I would agree with you on Maher, almost included it in my piece. His “gangsta President” remark was offensive, but he thinks
11 hours ago Favorite Reply Delete

tommyxtopher Tommy Christopher

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@ericbolling he gets apass b/c he’s a comic, and he meant it “positively.” Stewart, tho, uses it to satirize stereotypes, not promote them
11 hours ago Favorite Reply Delete

tommyxtopher Tommy Christopher

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@ericbolling So, if not, when have you used hip-hop parlance on a white politician? Was Reagan hosting a “hood” in the “crib?”
11 hours ago Favorite Reply Delete

ericbolling ericbolling

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@tommyxtopher TC you may not like my delivery/but theres NO hate. gotta go watch Piers stumble thru Amer Got Talent, proof America is great
11 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

tommyxtopher Tommy Christopher

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@ericbolling Did you, or anyone else, ask whether voters in 2004 would rather have a “forty” with Bush or Kerry?
11 hours ago Favorite Reply Delete

ericbolling ericbolling

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@tommyxtopher no but I might have…
11 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

tommyxtopher Tommy Christopher

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@ericbolling Well, when you’re done, my questions stand.
11 hours ago Favorite Reply Delete

tommyxtopher Tommy Christopher

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@ericbolling I’m sure you’re a fine person. Maybe fine enough to consider that what you’re saying legitimately offends people.
11 hours ago Favorite Reply Delete

ericbolling ericbolling

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@tommyxtopher good chatting with you… keep an open mind, man.
11 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

tommyxtopher Tommy Christopher

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@ericbolling You too. And FTR, “tool” isn’t necessarily an insult. Tools are an essential part of human progress.
11 hours ago Favorite Reply Delete

ericbolling ericbolling

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@tommyxtopher now thats funny!
11 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply
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