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NBC Admires Obama's 'Know What I'm Talking About Before I Speak' --3/25/2009


1. NBC Admires Obama's 'Know What I'm Talking About Before I Speak'
The NBC News team of Brian Williams, Chuck Todd and Keith Olbermann were all enamored with President Barack Obama's explanation that "it took us a couple of days" to express outrage over the AIG bonuses "because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." But on CNN, Bill Bennett undermined Obama's spin. Just after Obama's news conference ended at 8:57 PM EDT on Tuesday night, MSNBC anchor Olbermann quoted Obama's "I like to know what I talk about before I speak" line and then exclaimed it reflected "a new policy among politicians of every party and throughout American history!" On the broadcast NBC network, Brian Williams proposed to Chuck Todd at the White House: "Chuck you'll agree the sharpest moment was when asked more than once why did it take you a while to come out and reveal these AIG bonuses? The President said it took a couple of days 'because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak.'" Todd agreed: "I'd actually say that was a theme throughout this entire press conference" as Obama wanted to show "that he is making incremental progress. He even said it at the end: Persistence."

2. Stephanopoulos: Obama and Press Corps 'Hit Their Marks Tonight'
Put a liberal President together in the same room with a liberal press corps and ABC's George Stephanopoulos, who has gone through the revolving door from liberal political operative to liberal DC journalist, sees a wondrous success for both. "I think both the President and the press hit their marks tonight" at the presidential press conference, Stephanopoulos gushed on Tuesday's Nightline in assigning an "A-minus for the President, A-minus for the press."

3. ABC Certifies Obama's Claim Policies Inducing Economic Progress
Just under 90 minutes before President Barack Obama's Tuesday night news conference, ABC's World News set out to support his contention that his policies have already led to economic improvement. Picking up on how Obama planned to announce at the start of the session that thanks to his economic policies "we are beginning to see signs of progress," anchor Charles Gibson asked: "Well, is the President right? And are things turning around? We asked David Muir to look at two key sectors of the economy, jobs and housing." Muir decided in Obama's favor: "The report card on the economy does show glimmers of hope." He pointed to how "last month, 651,000 more jobs were lost, a lot of workers. But just two months earlier, that number was 681,000." Muir proceeded to highlight how because of the "stimulus," there "are now signs that money is trickling down." Specifically, "the U.S. Forest Service is among the first government agencies to hire. Melina Vasquez is among the 1500 people who will now be restoring the parks." Plus, "outside Portland, Oregon, one contractor fixing U.S. Highway 26 is bringing back 30 laid off workers and hiring ten more." Muir continued: "Then, there's housing and good news in hard-hit Miami, for instance, where sales have jumped a whopping 68 percent from just a year ago. And this week the numbers are encouraging nationwide."

4. MSNBC's David Shuster: When Will Obama Subpoena Cheney?
MSNBC host David Shuster, who usually touts the liberal line on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, filled in on Monday's Countdown with Keith Olbermann and came to Barack Obama's defense against comments made by Dick Cheney. Shuster played a 60 Minutes clip of the President responding to allegations by the former Vice President that he is making the country less safe. The cable host asked guest and Huffington Post blogger Lawrence O'Donnell, "Basically, Obama is saying Cheney claims the founding fathers and American principles that were forged during wartime are failures. Is the President flirting here with calling Cheney un-American?" Earlier in the segment, the liberal anchor editorialized about Bush: "If the absurdity of the administration that let down its guard on 9/11 lecturing anyone about safety was not enough for you, in our number three story tonight, Mr. Obama hits back." After O'Donnell summarized Obama's argument, that institutions such as Guantanamo Bay have made America less safe, Shuster followed up with a "quick hypothetical." If Cheney keeps up his attack, the host mused: "At what point does President Obama say, 'Okay, you want to debate your tactics? I'll send my attorney general over with a subpoena'?"

5. CBS's Smith: Stock Rally 'Vindication' for Obama Administration
On Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith talked to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs about Monday's stock market rally and wondered: "What was the reaction at the White House yesterday when the stock market closed?...There's been a lot of heat, though, aimed at the White House, aimed at the Treasury Secretary. Was there some degree of vindication?" Gibbs claimed that the administration does not pay attention to daily stock numbers, but Smith replied: "You have to admit, it's a pretty good day, though, when the stock market goes up 500 points and the AIG executives, at least more than a dozen of them, say 'we're going to give our money back.'" After Smith's pressing, Gibbs admitted: "Well, look, Harry. I'll take 500 points and that kind of news any day of the week."


NBC Admires Obama's 'Know What I'm Talking
About Before I Speak'

The NBC News team of Brian Williams, Chuck Todd and Keith Olbermann were all enamored with President Barack Obama's explanation that "it took us a couple of days" to express outrage over the AIG bonuses "because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." But on CNN, Bill Bennett undermined Obama's spin. Just after Obama's news conference ended at 8:57 PM EDT on Tuesday night, MSNBC anchor Olbermann quoted Obama's "I like to know what I talk about before I speak" line and then exclaimed it reflected "a new policy among politicians of every party and throughout American history!"

On the broadcast NBC network, Brian Williams proposed to Chuck Todd at the White House: "Chuck you'll agree the sharpest moment was when asked more than once why did it take you a while to come out and reveal these AIG bonuses? The President said it took a couple of days 'because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak.'" Todd agreed: "I'd actually say that was a theme throughout this entire press conference" as Obama wanted to show "that he is making incremental progress. He even said it at the end: Persistence."

A few minutes later on CNN, however, analyst Bill Bennett, the MRC's Rich Noyes noticed, was less enthralled with Obama's explanation in response to the follow-up from CNN's Ed Henry:
"The President said something that wasn't true in response. He said, well, I wanted, I wanted to wait a couple days until I knew what I was talking about. When he responded on that he didn't know what he was talking about. He said we've got to find some way to stop these bonuses. He and Geithner -- this administration -- had set up those bonuses."

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The Williams-Todd exchange on NBC just before 9 PM EDT:

WILLIAMS: Chuck, one of the questioners of the President, Chuck you'll agree the sharpest moment was when asked more than once why did it take you a while to come out and reveal these AIG bonuses? The President said it took a couple of days because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak.
TODD: I'd actually say that was a theme throughout this entire press conference, which was he wanted to show a couple of things thematically. Number one is that he is making incremental progress. He even said it at the end: Persistence. And he started, like you noted Brian, that he had somewhat of a closing statement but he wanted to say, you know, look, it is steady progress that we're making doing persistent things. So thematically that was it. Another big one is that the budget is part of the economic crisis. Very interesting choice of words.

Stephanopoulos: Obama and Press Corps
'Hit Their Marks Tonight'

Put a liberal President together in the same room with a liberal press corps and ABC's George Stephanopoulos, who has gone through the revolving door from liberal political operative to liberal DC journalist, sees a wondrous success for both. "I think both the President and the press hit their marks tonight" at the presidential press conference, Stephanopoulos gushed on Tuesday's Nightline in assigning an "A-minus for the President, A-minus for the press."

President Barack Obama didn't have to do much to earn the A-minus grade: "He had a very clear strategy and that was to tell the country that he has a strategy. He has an economic strategy, that it's starting to work -- though we're not out of the woods yet by any means, but that with persistence it's going to pay off and we're going to make progress on those four big issues he kept talking about: health care, education, energy and reducing the deficit."

And the reporters just had to pose questions about the economy: "The press also did do their job tonight, pressing the President on issues that people back home really care about and most of the questions about the economy, about the economic crisis we're facing right now."

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted late Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

So, Stephanopoulos concluded his Tuesday, March 24 Nightline segment: "A-minus for the President, A-minus for the press."

I'd give the easily-impressed Stephanopoulos a C for an overly simplistic evaluation.

ABC Certifies Obama's Claim Policies
Inducing Economic Progress

Just under 90 minutes before President Barack Obama's Tuesday night news conference, ABC's World News set out to support his contention that his policies have already led to economic improvement. Picking up on how Obama planned to announce at the start of the session that thanks to his economic policies "we are beginning to see signs of progress," anchor Charles Gibson asked: "Well, is the President right? And are things turning around? We asked David Muir to look at two key sectors of the economy, jobs and housing."

Muir decided in Obama's favor: "The report card on the economy does show glimmers of hope." He pointed to how "last month, 651,000 more jobs were lost, a lot of workers. But just two months earlier, that number was 681,000." Muir proceeded to highlight how because of the "stimulus," there "are now signs that money is trickling down." (I thought the media line was that "trickle down" doesn't work?) Specifically, "the U.S. Forest Service is among the first government agencies to hire. Melina Vasquez is among the 1500 people who will now be restoring the parks." Plus, "outside Portland, Oregon, one contractor fixing U.S. Highway 26 is bringing back 30 laid off workers and hiring ten more."

Streaming out all the good news, Muir continued: "Then, there's housing and good news in hard-hit Miami, for instance, where sales have jumped a whopping 68 percent from just a year ago. And this week the numbers are encouraging nationwide." Muir turned to an economist who "is looking forward with some lesser known indicators." The economist pointed to "housing permits, which foreshadows future construction, that, too, for single family homes, up 11 percent, the best in ten months."

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted eraly Tuesday evening on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

From the Tuesday, March 24 World News (6:30 PM EDT edition), following a press conference preview by Jake Tapper:

CHARLES GIBSON, IN HOUSTON: Well, is the President right? And are things turning around? We asked David Muir to look at two key sectors of the economy, jobs and housing. And bring us up to date.

DAVID MUIR: The report card on the economy does show glimmers of hope. First, jobs. On the surface, the unemployment picture still appears poor. But some economists say, look more closely at the numbers. Last month, 651,000 more jobs were lost, a lot of workers. But just two months earlier, that number was 681,000.
MUIR TO ROBERT BRUSCA: We still see job loss out there, but in that, you see a glimmer of hope?
ROBERT BRUSCA, CHIEF ECONOMIST, FACT & OPINION ECONOMISTS: The good news is, in the last three months, the declines have gotten marginally smaller. Before the economy improves, it usually stabilizes.
MUIR: And what about creating jobs, with all of that stimulus money from Washington? There are now signs that money is trickling down. The U.S. Forest Service is among the first government agencies to hire. Melina Vasquez is among the 1500 people who will now be restoring the parks.
MELINA VASQUEZ: It's a great opportunity for me, you know, to be out here and to have this job.
MUIR: And outside Portland, Oregon, one contractor fixing U.S. Highway 26 is bringing back 30 laid off workers and hiring ten more. Then, there's housing and good news in hard-hit Miami, for instance, where sales have jumped a whopping 68 percent from just a year ago. And this week the numbers are encouraging nationwide. Sales of pre-owned homes jumped more than five percent last month, but analysts caution it's the sellers who are taking a hit.. The median price of a home dropped 15 percent. Still, economist Bernard Baumohl is looking forward with some lesser known indicators. For one, the number of new permits sought by home builders.
BERNARD BAUMOHL, GLOBAL ECONOMIST, ECONOMIC OUTLOOK GROUP: Housing permits, which foreshadows future construction, that, too, for single family homes, up 11 percent, the best in ten months.
MUIR: And he says that's a small, but solid predictor of the future. But perhaps the biggest hurdle remains the mood of the consumer right now. After all, spending does count for 70 percent of this economy.
In fact, just tonight, that new ABC News survey shows a glass hall full/half empty scenario for the consumer. They tell us they're pessimistic when asked about their situation right now, but when asked about their futures, consumers indicate that they're starting to feel a little bit better, which mirrors what we heard from economists all day today, Charlie.

MSNBC's David Shuster: When Will Obama
Subpoena Cheney?

MSNBC host David Shuster, who usually touts the liberal line on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, filled in on Monday's Countdown with Keith Olbermann and came to Barack Obama's defense against comments made by Dick Cheney. Shuster played a 60 Minutes clip of the President responding to allegations by the former Vice President that he is making the country less safe. The cable host asked guest and Huffington Post blogger Lawrence O'Donnell, "Basically, Obama is saying Cheney claims the founding fathers and American principles that were forged during wartime are failures. Is the President flirting here with calling Cheney un-American?"

Earlier in the segment, the liberal anchor editorialized about Bush: "If the absurdity of the administration that let down its guard on 9/11 lecturing anyone about safety was not enough for you, in our number three story tonight, Mr. Obama hits back." After O'Donnell summarized Obama's argument, that institutions such as Guantanamo Bay have made America less safe, Shuster followed up with a "quick hypothetical." If Cheney keeps up his attack, the host mused: "At what point does President Obama say, 'Okay, you want to debate your tactics? I'll send my attorney general over with a subpoena'?"

[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Shuster also speculated about another terrorist attack on the United States and asked "who gets blamed? Obama for failing to stop it or Bush/Cheney for failing to stop al Qaeda?" O'Donnell then derided the Bush administration for not doing enough in Afghanistan. He asserted, "You've got to recognize that before Obama gets there, there was a seven-year period of an administration that, as far as we can tell, was doing nothing to drive down al Qaeda recruitment and al Qaeda cultural success, if not particularly tactical success in that region." (The Bush administration was doing nothing to fight al Qaeda recruitment in Afghanistan?)

As noted earlier, Shuster speculated as to whether the President was using the 60 Minutes interview to call Cheney "un-American." On the March 4 edition of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the host echoed a similar theme. He contended that if congressional Republicans "align themselves with Rush's statements about wanting the President to fail, they appear unpatriotic." See a March 6 CyberAlert posting for more: www.mrc.org

A transcript of the March 23 Countdown segment, which aired at 8:36pm EDT, follows:

DAVID SHUSTER: A week ago yesterday, the former Vice President of the United States was lecturing the current President on national television, and declaring that Mr. Obama's policies were making this country less safe. If the absurdity of the administration that let down its guard on 9/11 lecturing anyone about safety was not enough for you, in our number three story tonight, Mr. Obama hits back. In a 60 Minutes interview last night, Mr. Obama was asked about the lingering war in Afghanistan, the first war Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney failed to finish. In that context, Mr. Obama was asked about Mr. Cheney's remarks last Sunday, in which Mr. Cheney said that shutting down Guantanamo Bay and ending U.S. practices of torturing detainees weaken the U.S., because they were essential to preventing another attack.
BARACK OBAMA: I fundamentally disagree with Dick Cheney, not surprisingly. You know, I think that Vice President Cheney has been at the head of a movement whose notion is somehow that we can't reconcile our core values, our Constitution, our belief that we don't torture, with our national security interests. I think he is drawing the wrong lesson from history. The facts don'€˜t bear him out. I think he is- that attitude, that philosophy has done incredible damage to our image and position in the world. I mean, the fact of the matter is, after all these years, how many convictions came out of Guantanamo? How many- how many terrorists have actually been brought to justice under the philosophy that is being promoted by Vice President Cheney? It hasn't made us safer. What it has been is a great advertisement for anti-American sentiment, which means that there is constant effective recruitment of Arab fighters and Muslim fighters against U.S. interests all around the world. This is the legacy that's been left behind. And, you know, I'm surprised that the Vice President is eager to defend a legacy that was unsustainable. Let's assume we didn't change these practices; how long are we going to go? Are we going to just keep on going until, you know, the entire Muslim world and Arab world despises us? Do we think that is really going to make us safer?
SHUSTER: Mr. Obama also saying the U.S. has, quote, "not done a particularly effective job in sorting through Gitmo detainees" to determine who was a threat and who was, quote, "just swept up," apparently referring to last week's claim by Colin Powell's former chief of staff that U.S. leadership, including Cheney, fought Powell to keep people they knew were innocent detained for years at Gitmo. I'm joined now by MSNBC political analyst Lawrence O'Donnell, also a contributor to HuffingtonPost.com, and former chief of staff to the Senate Finance Committee. And Lawrence, thanks for your time tonight.
LAWRENCE O'DONNELL: Good to be here, David.
SHUSTER: CBS raised the Cheney remarks, but Mr. Obama clearly decided to take them remarks on strong. How come?
O'DONNELL: Well, he clearly decided he wanted to push back very hard on this thing. It looks like- it was very clear that this really engages the President as a politician, as commander in chief, and as a constitutional scholar. He knows that politically this argument has to be countered, that he can't leave it out there, that the Vice President is saying we are less safe. He knows as commander in chief that it is his job to guarantee that safety now. And so he's willing to discuss publicly exactly what the under-pinnings are of his strategy in this territory. And he also, as we saw in the clips, takes a wider view that the Bush/Cheney team never, ever allowed a discussion of, which is, if you use this particular tactic at Guantanamo, for example, what does it do to al Qaeda recruitment around the world? What does it do to promoting the al Qaeda cause? And the balancing of cause and effect is something that Cheney has never recognized to be even relevant to the conversation.
SHUSTER: Mr. Obama said Cheney leads a movement that asserts America cannot, quote, "reconcile our core values with being safe." Basically, Obama is saying Cheney claims the founding fathers and American principles that were forged during wartime are failures. Is the President flirting here with calling Cheney un-American?
O'DONNELL: Well, I think we know that this President is not the type of politician who would use language like that. He went in the most gentle direction possible with that when he said he thought the Vice President was drawing the wrong lessons from history. But, he pushed back very forcefully in saying that, in fact, the Cheney position has done real damage to us worldwide. And, and, you know, he didn't even get into issues like, oh, by this way, this Guantanamo Bay operation was supposed to keep us so safe, they actually released some people from there who immediately went to work against us as terrorists. And so the Cheney formulation collapses from any angle you look at it. And I actually think President Obama was careful not to personalize it, not to use the word Cheney whenever possible, in the way he approached this, but to really hit back at the concepts very hard.
SHUSTER: But, as careful as President Obama is or was, here's a quick hypothetical, suppose Cheney's cohorts keep pushing this stuff about making us weaker. At what point does President Obama say, "Okay, you want to debate your tactics? I'll send my attorney general over with a subpoena"?
O'DONNELL: Well, that's a good point. Much about these tactics we do not know. Much of it remains secret. Who authorized what at what time? What did Cheney know? When did he know it? What did the President know? When did he know it? This is not something they want to get into. It certainly isn't something they ever want to get into under oath. And, so what the President knows is that Cheney is allowed to take these pot shots in television cameras, while avoiding ever having to do a real accounting of what went on when, and what kind of legal liabilities might be involved in decisions that the vice president and President made.
SHUSTER: Next year, the same amount of time will have elapsed since 9/11 as elapsed after the first World Trade Center bombing until 9/11. If there is another attack, who gets blamed? Obama for failing to stop it or Bush/Cheney for failing to stop al Qaeda?
O'DONNELL: We know who Dick Cheney is going to blame. We would see a real blame fight this time around. You've got to recognize that before Obama gets there, there was a seven-year period of an administration that, as far as we can tell, was doing nothing to drive down al Qaeda recruitment and al Qaeda cultural success, if not particularly tactical success in that region. And so, I mean, if there was another attack, one thing we'd want to know is when did these attackers join al Qaeda, if that's who does it? What inspired them to do this to the United States? But I don't think the blame discussion would ever get that sophisticated. Immediately, the Republican side would be saying it is Obama's fault and who knows what the Obama side would be saying about it. I think President Obama would be the type who would step forward and take that responsibility for anything that happens on his watch. Let's hope we never see that particular argument break out.
SHUSTER: Lawrence O'Donnell, contributor to the Huffington Post, thanks as always. We appreciate it.

CBS's Smith: Stock Rally 'Vindication'
for Obama Administration

On Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith talked to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs about Monday's stock market rally and wondered: "What was the reaction at the White House yesterday when the stock market closed?...There's been a lot of heat, though, aimed at the White House, aimed at the Treasury Secretary. Was there some degree of vindication?" Gibbs claimed that the administration does not pay attention to daily stock numbers, but Smith replied: "You have to admit, it's a pretty good day, though, when the stock market goes up 500 points and the AIG executives, at least more than a dozen of them, say 'we're going to give our money back.'" After Smith's pressing, Gibbs admitted: "Well, look, Harry. I'll take 500 points and that kind of news any day of the week."

[This item, by the MRC's Kyle Drennen, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

An earlier report by Bloomberg TV anchor Deirdre Bolton credited the White House banking plan for the stock surge: "...yesterday the Dow soared to 6.5%, that was the biggest gain since October. The Obama administration finally giving some -- Wall Street some details on how the bad banks' assets can be treated. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner put together a plan that some say is the best of both worlds to deal with toxic assets."

Bolton cited chief economist of Global Insight, Nariman Behravesh, who declared Geither's plan: "...was the missing link. And it's now in place." She also cited Mark Zandi of moody'seconomy.com, who claimed: "It's great. It feels good. And obviously reflects investors' enthusiasm with respect to the plan the administration put forward to help the banking system." Behravesh later added: "I think the proof of the pudding will be in the eating, but nevertheless, I think they came through with a credible, specific plan. So this is very good news for the administration, for Geithner."

Here is the full transcript of the March 24 segment:

7:00AM TEASE:
JULIE CHEN: Wall Street's almost 500-point day in response to the Obama administration's plan to buy up bad assets. But as the President prepares to address the nation tonight, can the rally be sustained, and is it time to jump in? Here today, gone tomorrow. AIG execs give back nearly $50 million in bonuses as the company takes its name off its New York headquarters. So what will happen to the rest of the money?

7:02AM SEGMENT:
MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: But first this morning, it was a monster rally on Wall Street yesterday. Now the big question, will it last? Deirdre Bolton of Bloomberg TV is at the New York Stock Exchange. Deirdre, it's been going strong for a while, so hopefully.
DEIRDRE BOLTON: Hopefully, Maggie, is right. As you just alluded to, yesterday the Dow soared to 6.5%, that was the biggest gain since October. The Obama administration finally giving some -- Wall Street some details on how the bad banks' assets can be treated. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner put together a plan that some say is the best of both worlds to deal with toxic assets.
TIM GEITHNER: Use public capital to bring in private capital with some government financing to provide a market for these assets.
BOLTON: The program will help take $1 trillion worth of sour securities off banks' balance sheets. The idea is to do so without using more taxpayer money and without nationalizing the banks.
NARIMAN BEHRAVESH: This was the missing link. And it's now in place.
BOLTON: The Dow Jones soared into the triple digits and logged its fifth largest point gain ever.
MARK ZANDI: It's great. It feels good. And obviously reflects investors' enthusiasm with respect to the plan the administration put forward to help the banking system.
BOLTON: Bank stocks rallied on the news, Citigroup up more than 19%, Bank of America, 26%, JP Morgan Chase, 24%, and Wells Fargo, 23%. The execution of this plan is a big test for the Treasury Secretary.
BEHRAVESH: I think the proof of the pudding will be in the eating, but nevertheless, I think they came through with a credible, specific plan. So this is very good news for the administration, for Geithner.
BOLTON: And the President does, Harry, continue to give his full public support to the Treasury Secretary. As you know, he has been in the hot seat. Back to you.
HARRY SMITH: Deirdre Bolton at the New York Stock Exchange, thanks. Looks like the outrage at those bailout bonuses for AIG worked. The government will be getting some of that money back. CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante joins us now with more on that. Good morning, Bill.
BILL PLANTE: Good morning, Harry. The projection is that as much as half of it, about $80 billion, could be returned. But despite all of the anger that you heard here in Washington, it wasn't Congress or Washington that got the money returned.
BARACK OBAMA: People are rightly outraged about these particular bonuses.
PLANTE: President Obama led the populist charge when the public learned that executives at insurance giant AIG received $165 million in bonuses. Despite getting more than $170 billion in federal bailout funds. The anger was evident in a new CBS News poll, which shows 77% of Americans wanted the government to get the bonus money back. The House passed a bill last week that would levy a 90% tax on bonuses over $250,000 for any company receiving more than $5 million from the Fed. But now, as the bill heads to the Senate, there's been a change in tone from President Obama and a word of caution from the Senate.
MITCH MCCONNELL: And we ought to think about the ramifications of what we're doing.
PLANTE: And now that New York Attorney General Cuomo has gotten 15 of the top 20 AIG bonus earners to return the money-
CRAIG GORDON: I would not be surprised if that bill slowed down dramatically in light of both Obama's resistance to it and some of this talk that Andrew Cuomo got the money back from AIG.
PLANTE: And, in fact, the Senate is delaying the bill for maybe six weeks. It's probably dead. And what about getting the rest of that money back? What are the chances? Well, not very good. Because a lot of the remaining money went overseas. No reach, no jurisdiction. Harry.
SMITH: Bill Plante at the White House this morning, thanks. And President Obama will give a news conference tonight at 8:00PM Eastern. You can watch it right here on CBS. Joining us now, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. Good morning, Mr. Gibbs.
ROBERT GIBBS: Good morning, Harry. How are you?
SMITH: What was the reaction at the White House yesterday when the stock market closed?
GIBBS: Well, look, obviously, we're pleased with what happened in the market yesterday, but Harry, we don't spend a lot of time worrying or looking at what happens each day in the market. Instead, the President wants to feel confident and give the American people confidence that what we're putting in place will bring our economy back long term, create jobs, and lay a path towards prosperity again.
SMITH: There's been a lot of heat, though, aimed at the White House, aimed at the Treasury Secretary. Was there some degree of vindication?
GIBBS: Well, look, Harry. I think we're not going to be judged by what happens yesterday or today in the market, but a year or two from now where people feel like they have a stable job, whether their income is growing, whether they can get a loan to buy a house or a car or send their child to school. I think what the American people are focused on more is this long-term recovery. We don't want to go from bust to -- to bubble to bust economic growth anymore. I think the American people want to get back to sustained, long-term economic growth that provides them a good quality of life and a stable job, and that's what the President's focused on.
SMITH: You have to admit, it's a pretty good day, though, when the stock market goes up 500 points and the AIG executives, at least more than a dozen of them, say 'we're going to give our money back.'
GIBBS: Well, look, Harry. I'll take 500 points and that kind of news any day of the week.
SMITH: Alright. Let's talk some more about the economy, though, because there are still grumblings from the private sector about this idea of controls on executive compensation. How far does the White House want to go with this?
GIBBS: Well, look, Harry. The White House outlined in February -- the President created a plan, it was the strongest plan that had ever been put forward to ensure that executive compensation and bonuses don't get out of whack and out of line. Look, everyone in this country understands rewarding success. But, obviously, excessive executive compensation has unfortunately become the norm, and it's understandable that people get upset about it. What we need to do is have some rationality in that system, understand that we're all in this together, that we all have to give a little. And with that, we can stabilize our economy.
SMITH: Robert Gibbs, we thank you so much for your time this morning. Do appreciate it, sir.
GIBBS: Thanks, Harry.

-- Brent Baker