FishPoolDC: Our Insider’s Notes from Today’s Briefing

By Christine 

When “Two Minutes” Equals Two Minutes: A prompt Press Secretary Robert Gibbs took the briefing room’s first row off guard today as network and wire bigwigs trickled into their seats. “I feel like we’re running out of a tunnel at a big football game,” Gibbs joked. “Is the Huffington Post here?” CBS’s Peter Maer jabbed. (Maer would later trigger a lengthy classroom debate about the “designated hitter” in yesterday’s presidential newser.) RG countered: “You’ll have to get someone else to ask that question.” More on that topic on FBDC in a little bit…

Cabinet-Level Show and Tell: To complete the WH’s continuing energy-healthcare-education trifecta, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman joined Gibbs today to discuss a new initiative to trim the student financial aid application process. Apparently the Secretary had been through some mean arts and crafts time, as he brought two giant posters for Show and Tell. “This form itself was a huge barrier for entry,” he said of the old FAFSA, explaining that the new system achieved a 20% reduction in questions and 50% reduction in web pages. “This thing’s a little bit more friendly,” he said, showing off the second of his “before and after” visual aids.

“No Fourth For You!”: Gibbs clarified that invitations issued to Iranian diplomats for social gatherings surrounding July 4th are officially revoked in the wake of the current post-election turmoil. “Not surprisingly… nobody’s RSVP’d,” he said of the outreach. Gibbs said the other unanswered invitation to Iran — to join talks about its nuclear programs at the upcoming P5+1 meeting — still stands.

Of Note: In a heavy response to a question from ABC Radio’s Ann Compton, Gibbs maintained POTUS’s pledge that Americans wishing to keep their healthcare will, in fact, be able to do just that under a new system. Of course, we’re all still arguing about what the various proposals to that new system will look like…