Green Thumbs — Up and Down: As the monumental House climate change bill awaits its fate on the floor today, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs replied with an “Uh, yes” when asked if he retained yesterday’s confidence in its passage. Making a slight variation on a popular Obama team phrase, RG later noted that the WH didn’t want to “make the perfect the enemy of the really, really, good” in getting too picky on the bill’s deets.
Don’t Matter If It’s In Black & White?: The shocking death yesterday of an eccentric giant put the politics of the WH written statement in play today, as Gibbs was asked why POTUS didn’t issue his condolences more formally. (There was confusion yesterday as to whether there would be any official WH reaction at all.) Several reporters claimed, “That was my question!” when the subject was broached, and Gibbs hailed MJ as a “spectacular performer” and “music icon” before noting that “the president also said aspects of his life were sad and tragic.” Pressed on the written statement issue, RG repeatedly pointed to his own verbal rendition (“I thought I did a pretty good job”) and said he was “surprised” that reporters were “a bit shy” about asking POTUS directly in this morning’s presser with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “I could have arranged [the question] through a third party,”
Tweaking Tehran: Also in this morning’s availability with Merkel, the daylight between the leaders on Iran was pronounced with the German leader’s mention of the need for votes to be counted and the results substantiated, versus POTUS’s more cautious statement. Gibbs again echoed that there are “a series of events yet to play out” but said engagement is still on the table, “understanding right now that the Iranians seem preoccupied.” Gibbs threw a counter-punch at CBS’s Chip Reid, who asked whether the WH believes its statements are making a positive difference. “Interesting 180 on an earlier question from earlier in the week,” he said. “Times change,” Chip replied. Gibbs:
WH’s v. Fourth Estate’s Fourth: POTUS will pre-holiday in Camp David from Thursday through part of July Fourth, when he’ll return to the WH to celebrate. Sadly for those on the press charter for his Russia-Italy-Ghana trip, the plane will cut short fireworks fun with an 11 p.m. departure. Better make those hot dogs to-go….
All for a Good Cause: Gibbs, reflecting on yesterday’s charity-promoting dunk tank fun with the press, gave a shout-out to CBS’s Bill Plante — one of the few who successfully dunked him. “I assume Bill is not here because he’s icing his arm” or trying out with the Nationals, he said.