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Press Gaggle by Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton aboard Air Force One en route Cape Cod, MA

By The White House on 08/19/2010 – 12:30 pm PDTLeave a Comment

 1:28 P.M. EDT    

     MR. BURTON:  Thank you for joining us on our trip to Martha’s Vineyard.  For starters, I just wanted to ask, and for folks who read the transcript of this, that the privacy of the First Family is respected.  And, you know, the girls will obviously be out and about and the First Family will be doing things — you know, it’s just like last year.  We appreciate the hospitality of the folks at Martha’s Vineyard.  And the First Family had such a great time, they’re looking forward to a great time again.  We just hope that the local and national reporters respect the privacy of the girls, especially.

     So with that, I’m happy to take some questions.

     Q    The economy, the numbers this morning were very bad.  I know the President has come out and made a statement, but how bad does the White House think this is?  I mean, is the economy — did the economy really hit a wall in August, as it looks like?  Do you think there’s a real risk of a double-dip recession?

     MR. BURTON:  The President’s view is that there are going to be a lot of indicators that show some movement in different directions, but there’s no doubt that we have not done everything that we can to keep moving the economy in the right direction.  That’s why he was out there pushing for the small business bill as soon as the Senate gets back.  We’ve been able to make some progress but the President isn’t satisfied with the pace.  And that’s why he’s doing everything that we can to get the economy moving at a strength that is going to keep — that is going to get Americans back to work.

     Q    But, I mean, how bad do you think the outlook is for the economy?  I mean, how high would you rate the risks of a double-dip recession?

     MR. BURTON:  I’m not an expert economist, but I will say that if you’re an unemployed family right now you’d think that the economy is in pretty bad shape, and those are the kind of folks that the President is out there fighting for every single day to try to create jobs and create a stronger economy.

     Q    Did those numbers surprise you — 500,000 jobs?

     MR. BURTON:  You know, these indicators — there’s economic indicators that come out every single week and you don’t know what they are before they’re announced, so what do you know what the numbers would be.

     Q    Bill, how effective do you think the President’s statement is going to be, because he’s giving it — he’s going today, he’s going away for 10 days.  The Senate isn’t coming back obviously until after the August recess.  I mean, that’s a lot of time in between now and when the Senate is actually going to take this up, or when the pressure is really going to need to be on.  Are we going to hear more from him?  And how effective is what he did today?

     MR. BURTON:  The President has been trying to — has been applying pressure on this issue for a while now, and it’s been Republican obstruction that’s stopped it from going forward.  So he’s talked about it out on this trip that we took previously, he talked about it today, and he’s going to continue to when he gets back because it’s critically important that we create an environment where these small businesses can create jobs and make America’s economy stronger.

     Q    The Pew poll came out today and there’s some numbers on there that are interesting — one showing that the number of Americans who believe that the President is Muslim has gone up, while the number of Americans who believe the President is Christian has gone down.  What do you guys make of that?

     MR. BURTON:  Well, I think you have to understand that for most Americans, they’re not reading a lot in the news about what religion the President is and anything other — what they’re focused on is, you know, what you guys are focused on, which is important issues like what’s happening in Iraq and Afghanistan, what’s going on in the economy, what are we doing to create jobs — all these different issues

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