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

Coup-La-La, Day II: Ousted Honduran President Zelaya’s prospective visit to the U.S. was the focus of several briefing questions, but Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said most interactions on a potential visit would take place in Foggy Bottom, with no Obama-Zelaya one-on-one planned. The corps continued to question why the Obama team’s professed involvement in trying to maintain Honduran stability was not the kind of “meddling” it has avoided in Iran. Gibbs said it was “the understatement of the week” to say the countries are
different, and named distinctions, including a recognized “democratic process” in Honduras that has been thwarted, and the absence of U.S. observers in Iran.

That Other War: With the official withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraqi cities today, Gibbs declined to project “victory” in the war there, only repeating several times that this was “an important step forward.” “We’ll keep the banner printers from doing anything crazy,” he said, in a shot at Team 43. Gibbs referred to POTUS’s campaign trail comments when someone asked if the sacrifice was worth it — “of course it was,” Gibbs said. On VPOTUS’s new Iraq portfolio, RG said he’d hate to use the term “mediator,” but that Biden will be “working with Sunnis, Shi’a, and Kurds to achieve political reconciliation.”


JK, Guys, JK…: As reporters drilled away again on healthcare, RG made an offhand statement suggesting that reporters “look at the legislation we’ve sent Congress,” which led to a number of darting glances. Asked to clarify what the WH had sent the Hill, a disappointed Gibbs said, “Now i have to explain my sarcasm.” Incredulous reporters wonder if he might have leaked news of secret WH note-passing, but Gibbs maintained: “I was a little cute.” We’ll be the judges of that, Gibbsy….

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