Scared gophers: a tick tock of Obama in Muskoka

Below are the reports from the White House press pooler traveling with the president this morning. Pavement problems and Sarkozy wears lifts?

Lower down is the Robert Gibbs gaggle on the plane. Sounds like European leaders are scrambling for face time with Obama.


Potus arrived AAFB 9:13 a.m. on a bright mild and breezy day. Dark suit greyish test pattern striped tie, up the steps without sopping, quick one wave at the top. Wheels up 9:22 Gibbs, Gen Jones; Tom Donilon; Reggie Love with him.


Wheels down about 10:30a.  Potus greeted by US ambo to canada David Jacobson and wife Julie, Toronto mayor David Miller protocol officers and–wait for it–Mounties. Looking sharp. Rahm is also in entourage listed in prev report. Sunny, hazy. Gibbs gaggled at end of flight, transcript forthcoming, pls check against it. Some talk in press corps about Europeans not having a skedded bilat w potus so far; just UK’s Cameron. Gibbs was asked if there’d be an addl bilat(s) skedded with France and Germany to “clear the air”. Said he “would try to nail down” if anything’s been added. Recapped potus remarks after completion of financial overhaul bill conference saying the US comes to G8/G20 “leading the world in dealing with the finacial system.” Much on that and how it heightens US profile at mtg. He touted education reform, “both in K-12 and in college loans” is “as significant a reform to our education system as we have seen.” On polls suggesting this isn’t resonating with Americans, he said “there will be a significant time and place to have a debate about the actions of the last 17 mos…the president will be a forceful voice in that debate. We’re in helo to Muskoka, about a 45 min ride.

Arrival in Muskoka on Deerhurst golf course in Huntsville about 10:23a, and boarded a high speed golf cart motorcade to potus landing area to see him touch down. Almost lost your pooler off the back but was weighed down by luggage. Potus walked up a paving stone path laid in the turf leading to two small cottage type buildings.  He’s greeted by Hon. Tony Clement, Minister of Industry and wife Lynne Golding; Claude Doughty, mayor of Huntsville and wife Kim; and in a bright striped shirt festooned with turquoise ribbons, Chief Shane Tabobondung of the Wasauksing First Nation. We’re holding briefly–next up is official greet w PM Harper.


Shuttled by more golf carts driven apparently by retired Formula One racers to the Deerhurst front entrance–kicking up mud on the spongy lawn, we lurched onto the cart path, flushed a terrified groundhog into the hedges and lost two photogs off the back end of the cart ahead. “Damned pavement,” said our driver as we hauled up to the previously placid, geranium covered stone fountain at the entrance of this bucolic resort. We’re holding here until the official welcome of G8 leaders by Canadian PM Stephen Harper.


Arrival of the G8 leaders. A red carpet arcs around the circular drive at Deerhurst where a red, 3-foot high “G8” sign sprouts from the geraniums. Mr. Harper takes his place to the left of the “G,” greeting each leader in turn. Lot of attention for Cameron, who lingers to soak it up. Most everyone has a big goldtone tree pinned to their lapels, symbol of the summit, except Angela Merkel, in grape jacket, black pants. She’s also not wearing a striped tie like most others. Last is Sarkozy–the heels of his shoes are a good inch higher than the others’, and there’s no tree on his lapel. Total meet and greet time: 6 mins.

— reports by Wall Street Journal reporter Elizabeth Williamson, distributed by the White House.


June 25, 2010



Aboard Air Force One

En Route Toronto, Canada

10:14 A.M. EDT

MR. GIBBS:  We may have to make this one quick because it feels like we’re, as I would say, getting closer to the ground on purpose.

Fire away.  Who’s got something?

Q    Robert, with regulatory reform now building on the health care bill, the stimulus bill, how can the President try and capitalize on these wins over the last year and a half heading into November?

MR. GIBBS:  Well, before we get to November, let’s talk about where we’re heading right now, which is we’re heading into, obviously, as you heard the President just say, this series of meetings which are the premier economic forum in the world.  And the President goes first having led the world in Recovery Act, in dealing with the financial system, under the leadership of the economic team and Secretary Geithner, in dealing with our banking system, and now we head to this important meeting at a very important time economically in the world leading again on financial reform.  So I think that’s certainly important to note.

In terms of your broader question, Julianna, I would say you have a — I would add one more to the list that you put in there, and that is the reforms that have been done in education, both in K-12 and in college loans, represent probably as significant a reform in our educational system as we’ve ever seen.

So, look, the President has accumulated in 17 months an impressive record of getting things done.  It’s helped turn our economy around and we’re seeing growth and we’re seeing job creation again.  We’ve got new rules for banks and our financial system so we don’t have what caused this disaster — we don’t have a repeat of that; obviously education and health insurance reform.

So, look, I think there’s — the short of it is the President said coming into office that we were going to get all those things done, and we’re on the cusp of all four of them.

Q    But yet it still doesn’t seem to have resonated with the public.

MR. GIBBS:  Well, the conference closed at 5:40 a.m. this morning, so —

Q    No, I’m not talking about reg reform, but —

MR. GIBBS:  Well, look, I will say this.  There will be a significant time and place to have a debate about the actions of the last 17 months — or at that point, the last two years and the President will be a forceful voice in that debate.

Look, I think if you wanted to see — if you want to see a situation that illuminates where these two parties are, for the third time the Senate tried simply to extend unemployment benefits to those who have, because of what happened to our economy, they’re part of the long-term unemployed.  And for the third time, that was blocked.  And I think that says a lot about who you’re in Washington fighting for.

Q    Robert, any plans to add to the bilats?  There’s some talk that there may be a breakfast tomorrow morning between the President, French, German, and the British leaders to kind of clear the air.

MR. GIBBS:  Kind of clear the air about —

Q    Well, there’s some amount of pushback from the Germans about fiscal austerity and calls from the United States to do more to accelerate the economy.

MR. GIBBS:  Look, I’ve heard different talk about the schedule.  We’ll try to nail down if anything else has been added.  Again, I’d go through the first part of my original answer, which is we took some — the President took some very bold steps.  It’s led to economic growth; it’s led to a stabilization of our financial system.  And now we have — now we lead the world in financial reform.

So I’m sure the President looks forward to seeing all of those leaders, but we go to this meeting with a strong record of having identified and taken care of a number of our problems.

Q    How does the financial reform bill being passed today make the case for global recovery?

MR. GIBBS:  Well, look, I think it’s a significant reform.  It’s a significant reform of the biggest — of the financial system in the biggest economy in the world.  I think it demonstrates to the world the steps that we have to continue to take globally in order to ensure that we don’t find ourselves in a situation like we did two years ago — and just a tremendously important step as we come here to discuss the state of the recovering world economy.

All right, guys, I’m going to go sit down.  Thanks.

END               10:19 A.M. EDT