By Randy Foreman, White House Correspondent
WASHINGTON – (Newsblaze) As light snow was falling in Washington outside the West Wing, White House Spokesperson Josh Earnest during Friday’s daily press briefing was able to deliver the soundbite he was looking for about the House Vote of the so called “Cromnibus” that it was “a clear win for Democrats and a clear win for the President.” However, the assembled scribes noted that it came at a price.
Right off the bat in the first exchange, a reporter asked “Could the White House have avoided that last-minute drama by declaring a little earlier where it stood, perhaps right after the deal had been announced to voice the White House’s support for it, and thus Democrats would have known where the President stood right off the bat and you wouldn’t have had that back-and-forth that delayed the vote?”
Earnest noted that it was an “open question” but explained to reporters that the hubbub was caused by two things:
- That the White House needed time to review the 1,600 page bill
- There needed to be an effort to coordinate with Democrats on the Hill
The Fourth Estate could see that there were significant issues with achieving goal number two. But in the White House’s estimation they achieved the goal of saving Obamacare and Executive Amnesty from potentially being cut by House Republicans.
Ed Henry of Fox News noted skepticism from the Front Bench “This seemed to the first real test of the President’s juice after the election with his fellow Democrats. And most House Democrats, despite everything you said before about victories, most House Democrats rejected the President, despite phone calls, visits from Denis McDonough, phone calls from Vice President Biden. Why did so many Democrats reject him?”
Henry was noting the large number of Republican votes (150) it took to pass the bill and that it seemed disingenuous with previous Democratic talking points about government shutdowns “But last year when Republicans voted that way, and they said it was a principled stand on health care, and yesterday Democrats said it was a principled stand on rolling back Wall Street reform, a year ago, the President, Jay Carney and others said they were hostage-takers, they were terrorists, basically.” said Henry.
Still other reporters noted the rifts with the House Democratic Leadership such as Justin Sink of The Hill Newspaper “I had a couple I wanted to ask about, but first I wanted to kind of unpack your answer on Nancy Pelosi. You praised her and said a big reason that she’s been so effective working with the President is that more than any other leader kind of on Capitol Hill, she’s kind of been able to rally and whip her party. And I was struck that you said that because, of course, yesterday 57 Democrats voted against her and with the White House. And so I’m wondering if we had a readout of that, whether your guys’ understanding is either that Leader Pelosi wasn’t really sincerely kind of against this bill, that it was a bit of Kabuki theater that was going on, or if there’s concerns that she’s been an effective leader that’s been able to kind of hammer her party in the past but now we’re starting to see cracks and division in the House Democrats.”
Earnest dismissed the “Kaubuki Theater” by saying “I think there is a lesson that we have learned here at the White House and I think it’s a lesson that everybody around Washington has probably learned at some point or another during Nancy Pelosi’s tenure in Congress, which is people who underestimate Nancy Pelosi do so at their own risk.” The White House spokesman went on to say that she was an “effective leader.”
ABC News Johathan Karl wasn’t buying the spin either, when he had his shot at the podium. “If she’s such a critical player in everything the President has accomplished on Capitol Hill, why was she frozen out of the negotiations on the spending bill? I mean, she wasn’t part of it at all; it was Republicans, it was the White House, it was Harry Reid.”
Humorous Exchange of the Briefing: The White House was pressed to explain another one of Vice President Joe Biden’s gaffes. “On a lighter note on this Friday, do you have any reaction to the Vice President saying that as a child he threatened to kill a local bully? Is that surprising?”
The White house responded by saying “I’m not sure why that was introduced as a question on a lighter note. (Laughter.) I guess that’s my first reaction. But I would encourage you to check with the Vice President’s office. They may be able to better explain what the Vice President was trying to communicate in that situation.”
Josh Earnest will address reporters on Tuesday in the West Wing after the President returns from visiting Military service people in New Jersey for the Holidays.