Spin cycle: An hour in a full-blown White House PR campaign
December 9th, 2010
04:40 PM ET

Spin cycle: An hour in a full-blown White House PR campaign

Obama administration putting on a brave face - One hour inside the White House in the middle of a full blown PR campaign

Washington (CNN) - The White House is putting on a brave face in the midst of a congressional revolt, led by its own party, against the president's tax-cut deal.
In the latest move by angry Democrats, House lawmakers are refusing to bring Obama's controversial tax bill to the floor. As some political observers saw all legislative hell breaking out, the White House continued to make painstaking efforts to paint a rosy picture.

As the news of the Democratic blockage broke on Capitol Hill, the spinning over the course of an hour at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. could make you dizzy.

• White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki is first to jump into in the political fray, responding to the revolt with apparent confidence and calm.

"The House and Senate are working through the normal process of bringing a bill forward and we are confident that the major components of the tax framework that we fought for will remain in the final package brought to the floor and ultimately passed by Congress," Psaki says in her statement.

• Moments later the White House press office blasts out yet another email announcing a public official support for the tax deal.

This latest press release was just one in a steady stream of emails sent
to a wide distribution list of reporters over the last 48 hours citing support for the White House by governors, lesser-known mayors, and even former President Bill Clinton.

• Ten minutes later, a senior administration official offers up a defiant comment to push back at the hoopla being reported from the Hill, emailing, "The White House and the President will keep pushing forward which is exactly what we have been doing."

• At the time, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs' press briefing is still an hour away and he had yet to provide anything on-the-record to the press. Instead, he tweets a video link to "First Question," an occasional feature on the White House website in which the press secretary answers questions tweeted to him by the public. Using a laptop Web camera, Gibbs answers two questions about unemployment benefits and D.C. "bickering."

• Moving outside at the White House stakeout in front of the West Wing, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke gives a robust readout of his meeting with the President's Export Council and, not surprisingly, dodges a reporter's direct question about the House's uprising.

Locke instead offers an optimistic outlook, saying, "Obviously, I think some of the reports indicate that as more members hear of the provisions that the president was successful in getting into this agreement, beyond just extending the so-called Bush-era tax cuts, that more members are supportive."

All of this happening outside the White House residence where Obama and Vice President Biden are scheduled to begin their weekly lunch in the Private Dining Room.

Biden, with his 36 years of experience in the Senate, has been actively involved in the tax deal negotiations, spending the last two days on the Hill getting an earful from angry Democrats over the president's compromise. So one can only imagine what the two were having for lunch.

Perhaps they were eating crow.

CNN White House producer Shawna Shepherd contributed to this report.

Topics: Economy • The Buzz • White House

soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Four and The Door

    I have to admit...it's much more enjoyable being on the side of the Administration and I'm glad they have made a decision worthy of support. As for the Democratic House...I'll be celebrating New Years Eve with a little more enthusiasm going into 2011.

    December 9, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
  2. jpmichigan

    This fiasco between the Democrats and Republicans is discussing. #1. the democrats want to continue unemployment benefits, so use the money left over in TARP, or money that has been returned from auto companies and financial institutions. WHERE HAS THAT MONEY GONE? Come on the Democrats want to make the Republican look bad and vice verse. All members of the house and senate should have been replaced. Reid is trying hard to please the Latino that voted him back, so what better time but during the lame-duck session for the Dream Act. Dream on Reid, where are your priorities!

    December 9, 2010 at 6:42 pm |


    December 9, 2010 at 7:33 pm |
    • How much sense does that make?

      Let's see – that's three jobs lost there - a nanny, a driver, and a housekeeper........

      December 10, 2010 at 10:52 am |
    • Total truth

      actually ther are extending unemployment benefits and tax cuts for the middle class..have u read the document your bashing, if u did u would see that the majority of the money goes to the middle class..try reading and understanding before bashing.

      December 10, 2010 at 2:52 pm |
  4. change obama to, you fill in the blank

    looks as if the dems will get there tax increase, but they are DOOMED in 2012, say bye bye

    December 9, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
    • a6102658

      You don't make any sense, the Republicans are signing on a bailout for the Rich, it looks like bad politics to me.
      Their first priority, a bailout for the Rich.

      December 9, 2010 at 9:12 pm |
      • Total truth

        try reading the bill.. why do you talk if u do not understand what u are talking about..stop recycling old talking points. The most of the cuts go to the middle class. Why do u think cons and rep are not so excited about it...Think before talking.

        December 10, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
  5. Mike in MN

    Good for them! We can't afford another 1 TRILLION in deficit spending. Let the tax cuts expire and make them work for a living figuring out how to get our fiscal house back in order like Obama said he would do when we elected him!

    December 9, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  6. dwayne

    I love you President Obama; but i have to support the house this time.

    December 9, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
    • Total truth

      Read the bill.. and read it carefully, and u will change ur mind. This same house u support had no courage to broker any deal.

      December 10, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
  7. Dee Wallace

    The President did what he had to do with the party of "NO" if he had argued with them until the last minute nothing would be accomplished then everybody would be upset. So it is damn if you do and damn if you don't the Democrats abandon him during the election and did't want to take up the Tax debate.

    President Obama has been treated so unfairly and he has done so much for this country give him some credit and respect. He is looking out for middle americans, just wait and see what happend the first of the year the Republicans are just the opposite they are going to look out for the rich.

    The news over at MSNBC wants to find another President it is ridiuculus the same thing happened to Bill Clinton the news is suppose to be reported and not give opinions. This does not help the cause or heal the people it causes more controversey.

    December 9, 2010 at 8:28 pm |
    • Sepirus

      Amen. You couldn't have said it better. The democratic party isn't look at the implications of this deal long term. If this does pass, what can they run on in 2012? The deficit, no. Obama as a spending socialist, no. All they'll have is the economy and if democrats can sell the message that Bush got us into it, they'll have nothing. That's a decent size "if", however.

      December 10, 2010 at 12:29 am |
      • Sepirus

        "They" meaning Republicans.

        December 10, 2010 at 12:29 am |
  8. King

    I favor the tax cut to expire, I was favoring the president to make a deal but since the deal has broken, we need the 4 trillion dollars tax cut that devastate our country and cause this great deficit. To put to use and start the greatest modernization project in the history of this country, by hiring 4 to 5 million workers directly and 2 to 3 million indirectly. We will bring back almost half the industry that have long been gone, the steel cement, plastic, electronics, you name it demand will be epic. The unemployment rate will plummet under 7 percent over night.

    December 9, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
  9. C. Merrik

    I'm 49 and been out of work 2 years now- looks like I'll stay unemployed, the way things are going.

    December 9, 2010 at 8:51 pm |
  10. bj

    Republicans should hold out-one more month and they will have the control. Do you dems remember when the health care oh excuse me health insurance reform bill was passed. There was a lot of deals made in back rooms. Shady Chicago style. Well now we get 2 years of what we want. No immigration reform, don't ask don't tell will stay and take breaks for the rich. Plus we need to bring back morals. Right from wrong. Go to church more often you might be able to be saved. My bible says it's never to late.

    December 9, 2010 at 9:12 pm |
    • bill

      Why does nobody see the obvious solution of only giving tax breaks too rich business owners who create jobs.
      Or have republicans thought of a bullshit excuse for how tax cuts for the rich who continue to fire workers helps the economy?
      How could anyone take the idea of trickle down economics seriously in such a greedy world

      December 9, 2010 at 11:36 pm |
      • Dhananjay

        Regulators in the U.S. and Europe have fined high-frequency traders for using the sytesm to manipulate prices. One such practice, called layering, involves issuing and then cancelling orders that the trader never means to complete, pumping false pricing data into the market.Also, many traders' algorithms are extraordinarily complex, triggering trades when an array of factors line up just so, sometimes with unplanned effects. An investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodities Futures Trading Commission found that the 2010 flash crash started with a large sell order from a mutual fund. That triggered a spiral of sell orders from flash traders. Then, when new conditions were established, the process reversed. To critics, the fact that it took months for regulators to uncover the sequence of events requiring a voluminous report to explain them indicates how poorly understood the process is, and how hard it would be to monitor potential problems in real time.High-frequency traders also may be using the sytesm to probe the market, discovering when other participants are buying and selling large blocks of specific stocks or bonds, Allen adds. That would allow them to front run, or buy ahead of the big trader, profiting improperly when the other buyer's order pushes the price up. My guess is a big portion of the [industry's] profits are related to this activity, Allen notes.

        July 31, 2012 at 8:05 am |
    • morninglory

      Going to church? What has that to do with anything? I quit going to church because I saw what kind of people those good church going christians really are and I don't want to be one of them.

      December 10, 2010 at 5:09 am |
  11. Peanut Santiago

    With every passing day....we, the working people of America (working and middle classes) see job security vanish, pensions gone, social security attacked, wages stagnant or cut, job benefits cut, health care benefits cut......
    Our children will have a harder life than us and social security will probably be gutted. While the SS age rises, more companies won't hire older workers. We have to deal with outsourcing and often 3 people applying for 1 job.
    Not a rosy picture for ordinary workers. Not a future to look forward to.
    Yet we have bailed out banks and Wall Street only to see their executives spend obscene amounts of money on themselves while still using stimulus funds.......
    Profits are privatized but losses are shared by the taxpayers. The rich party while the working and middle classes pick up much of the bill.
    Yet with a high deficit and the country in dire straits, we at least hoped that the lower classes (who can use the money to live on) would get the tax breaks while the Democratic politicians would try and NOT extend the tax cuts for the rich for now.
    What did we get? A deal with tax cuts for the rich, a low inheritance tax, AND a cut in payroll taxes for social security (that same SS that many ordinary workers will need some day due to disability or retirement).
    Even lower class Republican workers are going to want social security......
    It is hard believe that Obama caved in without even a token fight. Without caring about the precedent this would set about giving in and being a doormat. Not even a TINY fight.
    It is good to see at least a handful of Democratic politicians standing up for the "little" people....the ones being held hostage so the rich can gorge when our country is at war and in a deep recession. (It is a deep recession here on main street.)
    I voted for a Democrat, not a Republican passing as a Democrat.
    Too bad Obama's new BFF would never vote for him. And his FORMERLY loyal base contains many of us who are disgusted.
    I would rather see a REAL Republican (bad as he may be) in the White House than a Rep. Wolf in sheep's clothing like Ojbama.
    This is NOT the first time he has wimped out. Some of us are keeping score and we are sickened by his lack of leadership qualities.
    I am a middle of the road, MODERATE Democrat who does not believe in a welfare state. However, there must be jobs that pay a living wage! And some attempt to reign in the deficit without giving away the candy store to the rich.

    December 9, 2010 at 11:24 pm |
  12. Brandon

    The GOP makes me sick

    December 10, 2010 at 12:15 am |
  13. Bill Clay

    Where's the Tea Party in all this debate? Weren't they the party of "NO MORE TAXES"? They seem to be awful quite while their Republican friends are threatening to raise taxes on everyone if the rich don't get a cut also. Frankly, I agree with the House Democrats on this argument. We should let the tax cuts expire for everyone, rather than sell our souls to the Republicans for a bad deal that mainly benefits the rich. These so-called 'Bush tax cuts' gave a pittance to the average family, while the wealthy reaped a bonanza. Let's force the rich to start paying their fair share again. I'm willing to make the sacrifice for my country. Are the Republicans?

    December 10, 2010 at 4:44 am |
  14. Jerry, Florida

    Oh well, as if we Democrats were not in enough "doodle'. Now the Democrats are going to screw every thing up even more.

    This package represents one of the only few times President NObama has done the right thing and the Van Hooligans, the Booblehead/Plastic Pelosis, the Vote Buying Reeds, etc., etc., will now negate the best possible agreement that could have been negotiated during this most difficult times. American voters should and must remember all the political posturing by the idiotic Democratic leadership.

    Watch Van Hooligan and other unpatriotics to challenge President NObama at every step. Do I smell a challenge by Van Hooligan for the presidency?

    The Republicans should just tell Van Hooligan and his ilk to shove it, go fly a kite and stop the posturing on the backs of the American people.

    Again America, remember the elected Democratic morons that will be responsible if President NObama's negotiated package fails.

    December 10, 2010 at 6:27 am |
  15. SuperD

    I cannot believe there are people on this board rooting for peoples taxes to go up. That's sick. The only way out of this is to DOWNSIZE the FEDERAL GOVT. And when you DOWNSIZE the FEDERAL GOVT. it does not take as much tax revenue to sustain it. That's the way out people, taxing is a bad idea and it will make things worse.

    December 10, 2010 at 9:47 am |
    • james Miller

      So, after the Bush`s tax cuts the economy boomed? Yah, it boomed all right. That`s why we are where we are today. A few people (2%) got filthier rich. And you want to go back to the "good ole days" ?------ You moron --

      December 10, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
  16. Phyvyn Last

    The only reason sides see pres as wrong is because they disagree with stabilizing the economy – US cash crop is now protection of ivory towers.

    December 10, 2010 at 11:11 am |
  17. Chas in Iowa

    Super D,
    Some of us are more patriotic than we are capitalist.
    This country has operated in the red ever since the Bush tax give away.
    Let's be logical and go back to the tax levels where we were operating in the black.
    Let the tax cuts expire.

    December 10, 2010 at 12:34 pm |