Sunday, November 9, 2008

John Podesta on 'FOX News Sunday': Transcript (11-9-08)

The head of Obama's transition team, John Podesta, was interviewed by Chris Wallace. Read the full transcript.

WALLACE: President-elect Obama made it clear in his Friday news conference that job one is the economy, but he left it unclear how active, how involved, he's going to get before his inauguration.

Will he give congressional Democrats clear direction about what he wants them to do in a lame duck session on economic stimulus?

Will he actively engage with the Bush administration on the financial bail-out, or is he going to wait until he takes the oath of office?

PODESTA: Well, we have one president at a time, as President- elect Obama said on Friday, so it's up to — the job is up to President Bush to move that legislation forward and try to keep economic recovery moving today.

But I think what the president-elect wanted to do — he sent a strong signal that we need an economic recovery program moving forward. He'd like to see the stimulus that's pending on Capitol Hill pass.

He wants to see unemployment insurance extended, aid to the states that are struggling with medical insurance — and try to fix their problems and their own budgets so they don't need to lay people off, and try to get job growth going again.

He hopes that will happen during this lame duck session, that the — that President Bush will cooperate. If it doesn't, it would be the first item of business when he comes back.

WALLACE: But for instance, on the financial rescue plan, there are some decisions that are going to be made over the course of the next two months on things — various financial institutions, how to spend that $700 billion, even talk about appointing a permanent head of the — to deal with the rescue.

If the Bush administration asked President Obama — President- elect Obama, "What do you think of this? Will you sign off on this person," is he going to say, "Yes," or, "I'll wait?"

PODESTA: Well, I think that he's going to put his own people in place when he comes to office, and we're moving very aggressively to select both people at the top for cabinet secretary, treasury secretary in particular, but we're also looking at people below the level of cabinet secretary — the undersecretary for domestic finance, the head of the TARP, the so-called TARP, et cetera.

So he's going to put his own team in place. In the meantime, he's designated Dan Tarullo as one of his senior economic advisors to — to have discussions, to be fully informed, fully briefed, with what's going on right now.

Mr. Tarullo has reached out to Secretary Paulson. They've already spoken. They're meeting tomorrow. And we'll have other people who are available to be at the Treasury to understand the decisions that are being made.

But we have one administration at a time. And those are decisions that the Bush administration needs to make while they're in office.

WALLACE: Does the president-elect feel some pressure to name his treasury secretary and his economic team first and quickly to reassure the financial markets?

PODESTA: Well, I think across the board, whether it's national security, the economy, the senior leadership that will manage health care, energy and the environment, I think he intends to move very quickly.

And you know, he's beaten a lot of records during the course of the campaign. I think people probably don't know this, but with the exception of President Bush 41, which was an intraparty transition, no new president has named a cabinet secretary before December, going back through the Kennedy administration.

And I think we're moving aggressively to try to build out that core economic team, the national security team, and you'll see announcements when they're ready.

But again, I'll reference back to what he said on Friday. He said he wants to move with all deliberate haste, but he put the emphasis on deliberate. So he's deliberating what — the strongest team that he could put in place to manage the very, very difficult problems the country is facing, and there will be announcements forthcoming.

Monks Brawl in Jerusalem: Video

From FOXNews:

Israeli police rushed into one of Christianity's holiest churches Sunday and arrested two clergymen after an argument between monks erupted into a brawl next to the site of Jesus' tomb.

The clash broke out between Armenian and Greek Orthodox monks in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, revered as the site of Jesus' crucifixion, burial and resurrection.

It began as Armenian clergymen marched in an annual procession commemorating the 4th-century discovery of the cross believed to have been used to crucify Jesus. It ended with the arrival of dozens of riot policemen who separated the sides, seizing a bearded Armenian monk in a red-and-pink robe and a black-clad Greek Orthodox monk with a bloody gash on his forehead. Both men were taken away in handcuffs.

Six Christian sects divide control of the ancient church. They regularly fight over turf and influence, and Israeli police are occasionally forced to intervene.

The feud revolves around a demand by the Greek Orthodox to post a monk inside the Edicule — the ancient structure built on what is believed to be the tomb of Jesus — during the Armenian procession. The Armenians refused, and when they tried to march the Greek Orthodox monks blocked their way.

"We were keeping resistance so that the procession could not pass through ... and establish a right that they don't have," said a young Greek Orthodox monk with a cut next to his left eye. The monk, who gave his name as Serafim, said he sustained the wound when an Armenian punched him from behind and broke his glasses.

Father Pakrat of the Armenian Patriarchate said the Greek demand was "against the status quo arrangement and against the internal arrangement of the Holy Sepulcher." He said the Greeks attacked first.

Archbishop Aristarchos, the chief secretary of the Greek Orthodox patriarchate, said his monks had not initiated the violence. "I'm sorry that these events happened in front of the Holy Sepulcher, which is the most holy religious monument of Christianity," he said.

After the brawl, the church was crowded with Israeli police holding assault rifles and equipped with riot gear, standing beside Golgotha, where Jesus is believed to have been crucified, and the long smooth stone marking the place where tradition holds his body was laid out.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police were forced to intervene after fighting was reported. They arrested two monks, one from each side, he said.

The feud is only one of a bewildering array of rivalries among churchmen in the Holy Sepulcher.

The Israeli government has long wanted to build a fire exit in the church, which regularly fills with thousands of pilgrims and has only one main door, but the plan is on hold because the sects cannot agree where the exit will be built. In another example, a ladder placed on a ledge over the entrance sometime in the 19th century has remained there ever since because of a dispute over who has the authority to take it down. More recently, a spat between Ethiopian and Coptic Christians is delaying badly needed renovations to a rooftop monastery that engineers say could collapse.

Rahm Emanuel on 'This Week': Transcript (11-9-08)

Obama's recently selected Chief of Staff appeared on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Read the complete transcript.

STEPHANOPOULOS: On Tuesday night, Senator McCain pledged to do everything he could to help President-elect Obama. And in your book that you wrote with Bruce Reed, “The Plan,” you had special praise for Senator McCain’s ideas on taking on corporate welfare.

Is that one specific idea that President-elect Obama and Senator McCain can work together on? And what are some others?

EMANUEL: First of all, they had -- as you know, they had a very good phone call. It would be presumptuous of me to say, that’s where they’re going to work. Obviously, President-elect Obama reached out to him.

As I said, they had a good call. They’re going to be talking about a series of things, not only domestically but internationally, on where they can work together.

And the good news is that John McCain has said, you know, as a total patriot throughout the campaign, and cares about his country, he’s going to be supportive of what we’ve got to do.

Because the challenges, as you noted in the introduction, George, whether on the national security front or on the economic, are looming large, and they’re going to require both parties and leaders of both parties, as well as independents, to offer up ideas to how to meet those challenges.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s get to...

EMANUEL: So there will be places, a lot of places to work together. and Senator McCain, I think -- obviously, I wasn’t privy to the conversation -- he has, throughout his career, when the campaign is over, the work of solving the problems of the country begin.

And, I’m sure, will be a partner in helping do that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s get to some of the news on those economic challenges. Just last night, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Democratic leader in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid , sent a letter to the administration, urging the Treasury secretary to tap that $700 billion rescue fund in order to help the auto industry.

The White House has already signaled they’re opposed. Is President-elect Obama for using that fund to help the auto industry?

EMANUEL: George, as President-elect Obama has said throughout the campaign, and as I think as recently as Friday, first, the auto industry is an essential part of our economy, an essential part of our industrial base.

Second, they should look at accelerating the $25 billion that was offered for retooling for the industry, going forward.

Third, there are other authorities within the administration they should use at this immediate time.

And, fourth, President-elect Obama has asked his economic team to look at different options of what it takes to help bridge the auto industry so they are a part of not only a revived economy but part of an energy policy, going forward, where America is less dependent on foreign oil.

Those are the parts that is necessary for...


STEPHANOPOULOS: So the administration...

EMANUEL: ... both the auto industry and the economy.

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... it does have the authority to tap that rescue fund. Do you think they should?

EMANUEL: Well, he has been very clear that they’re part of any sustained economic activity in this country. They’re an industrial base. They employ 3 million Americans. And it’s very, very important that they -- that anything that’s been done, A, you’ve got to tap the $25 billion that’s been offered.

B, there’s all this other authorities within the administration and within the government that they should do to help the industry.

And, fourth, he has asked his own economic team to come up with proposals, at this point, that would help the industry bridge toward a point in the future where they have a restructured, retooled auto industry that is part of not only our -- an essential part of our economy, essential part of our energy policy, which is less dependent on foreign oil.

And that is the most important thing to be done. And I think that the administration needs to -- and Congress -- work with the auto industry, at this time, to deal with the problems.

But, remember, it’s all toward an eye of a very important part, as he has said throughout the campaign, an important part of our economy; that is, the auto industry.

Meet The Press Transcript (11-9-08)

Read the complete transcript.

MR. BROKAW: I thought I would begin by sharing with our audience and with you as well a Gallup and USA Today poll taken the day after the election, "Does this describe your reaction to Barack Obama being elected president?" Sixty-seven percent of the people said they were proud, 67 percent said they were optimistic, 59 percent said they were excited. Those are very high numbers. How do you hold on to that in the face of this deteriorating economy and all the uncertainty that's still ahead of us, Congressman?

REP. CLYBURN: Well, I think the first thing we have to do is respond to the American people with a economic recovery package that will restore jobs, that will, once again, stand up our infrastructure: roads, bridges, water, sewage. I think we have to respond by saying to the children we are going to have a state children's health insurance program. I think we need to respond with a stem cell program, stem cell research. I think that the campaign told us a whole lot about what's on the minds of the American people, and I think that you keep that excitement by responding immediately to that. And I think that's why the president-elect made it very clear in his first press conference that he wants an economic recovery package and he would like to have it right now. And I would hope that the leadership of the Congress and the White House can get together on such a package in the near future.

MR. BROKAW: We want to get to the specifics in just a moment.

Senator Martinez, what about the Republican Party and keeping its place prominent after this pretty resounding defeat?

SEN. MEL MARTINEZ (R-FL): Well, the first thing we have to do is to celebrate the moment. And I think I agree with the sentiment of so many of those people in the polls, this is a historic moment. It's one that I thought Senator McCain properly recognized in his very gracious concession speech. And so we need to keep that kind of spirit of pulling together and finding common ground. However, I think the important thing for this new administration and for the leadership in Congress to do is to find the common ground agenda items. You know, when you look back to Florida, we have a lot of problems in the state of Florida. Unemployment parallels the national average, in some counties it's 10 percent, which is dramatically high. Find ways in which we can put people back to work and we can get our economy running again. Look for that checklist of things where there can be common ground, stay away from those items where, frankly, there'll be division and there'll be rancor and there'll be acrimony. So look for the common ground, and I think that'll be a prescription for us getting some things done.

MR. BROKAW: OK, we want to get to those specific things that may divide you more than unite you. But let's hear, first of all, from President-elect Obama, his first radio address in this new position yesterday, because he kind of laid out a general agenda of what he'd like to achieve.

[...]MR. BROKAW: He did not specifically mention a stimulus program. There's a good deal of talk about that on Capitol Hill when you come back into session.

Would you be in favor of $100 billion stimulus program at this point, Senator Martinez?

SEN. MARTINEZ: I think it needs to depend on the specifics that might be included in that program, but I think some sort of stimulus is appropriate. I, I would love to see it focused on, on home ownership, on, on getting back to the basics of what got us into this financial crisis in the first place, which is displaced homeowners, continuing rising foreclosures, things of that nature. We need to focus it on creating job opportunities for American families that are today out of work and extending unemployment benefits and things of that nature that I think, frankly, are appropriate. But we need to see what's in the package before we can just sign on. And I hope, frankly, part of this bipartisan spirit will be to be consulted in how we get to the package, inclusive in how we get to the decisions so that we can move forward in a united way, in a bipartisan way.