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

WH on 14th St. News: Amid speculation that this afternoon’s breaking news from the Holocaust Museum could be tied to the recent POTUS visit to the concentration camp in Buchenwald, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs declined to speculate with little confirmed details on the shooting.”Let me separate the two,” he said, noting that the camp visit was “extraordinarily powerful.” In a pre-briefing meeting with POTUS, Gibbs said Obama was “concerned” for the security guard and “saddened” by the incident. No official WH statement yet.

Cheers to the Seniors: Class opened with another new face to the briefing room. “Take your seats, settle down,” Gibbs said as Commerce Secretary Gary Locke took the stage. Locke briefed on Friday’s digital transition, noting that nearly three million households are still unprepared for the move. “Surprisingly enough, seniors are prepared,” he reported. As for the younger generation: “Maybe it’s because they rely on new forms of media for news and programming and don’t care about television anymore.” (A few hurt network reporters hissed at the insinuation.) “There are a lot of people who procrastinate,” he elaborated, providing helpful outside examples — taxes and studying for exams — to illustrate a common habit. $650 million from the Recovery Act has financed the project.

No Offense, Russia… : Gibbs confirmed that Ken Feinberg will serve as a new “special master” to oversee executive compensation in companies that have received “exceptional assistance” from the government. (Apparently they got tired of the “czar” title.) He named a magnificent seven to include AIG, Citibank, Bank of America, GM, GMAC, Chrysler, and Chrysler Financial.

Here’s Lookin’ At You, Congress: Gibbs fielded a barrage of healthcare questions, most of which called for a yea or nay from the White House on specific proposals. As RG grew impatient, he emphasized POTUS’s wait-and-see mode and redirected pressure toward Capitol Hill. When reporters, including NBC’s Chuck Todd, pushed back, arguing the fairness of posing such questions, Gibbs retorted: “I’m not the special master on press questions.” A few voices from the seats countered: “Yes, you are.”

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