|Targeted News Service|
Before I take your questions, I just wanted to note that this week represents an important step in our efforts to start delivering on the promise of expanding access to quality, affordable health coverage for millions of Americans. We are launching the new and improved HealthCare.gov, which you can see behind me, and which will be the marketplace's online home starting in October. For Spanish-speaking customers, CuidadoDeSalud.gov has also been updated in preparation for the marketplace. The screen behind me gives you a sense of the new website.
We're also opening a consumer call center that will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This toll-free service will help answer questions and, starting in October, it will provide personalized assistance for callers who are filling out their application or selecting a plan.
I do recommend that you visit the site. It's I think very well designed, very user-friendly, and represents the efforts underway to help inform the American people about the options available to them under health care reform and the Affordable Care Act -- HealthCare.gov; CuidadoDeSalud.gov also.
Q Thank you. What can you tell us about
Q So you can't tell us whether you're working under the assumption that he's still there?
Q And what kind of conversations are happening right now between the U.S. and
I would note that given our intensified cooperation with
Q But if they -- have they responded by saying, yes, we are --
Q And Snowden left
There have been repeated engagements by the
With regards to your question about the Chinese government, we are just not buying that this was a technical decision by a
Q What are the repercussions in U.S.-Chinese relations for this decision?
Q Has the President spoken with President Xi about this?
Q Are there repercussions for
Q How frustrating is it to the President that, first,
Q How did the President react when he learned that Snowden had left
Q Does he want answers on why Snowden's passport wasn't pulled sooner and other steps that could have been taken?
Now, because of the Privacy Act -- and anyone can note the irony there -- we cannot comment on
Q It sounds like a bunch of bureaucracy --
Q Is the President enraged?
Q You said the Attorney General has reached out and
Q Does he see it as a loss of prestige if he makes the effort and he isn't returned?
Q Does the administration feel that
Q How far would we go to get him? Would we, for example, force down an airliner from another country?
Q So you'd rule out any kind of use of force?
Q And is there any information on what has happened to the four computers he is supposed to have been carrying?
Q But there are stories out there that -- one story has the computers having been left behind at some point. Another story has the Chinese having had a chance to copy the information. What do we know?
Q Jay, you said the President was disappointed in
Q But is there a point person, given the complexity of all of that?
Q To track him down.
But again, I think that, to your question about the U.S. handling of it, I think I addressed the issue of the passport -- again, without being able to be specific about an individual's passport because of the Privacy Act. I was able to say what I said about the fact that
Q And along the same lines, in terms of U.S. handling, there have been some suggestions in reports that
It is unfortunate that
Q Last thing on this. The administration was obviously embarrassed when you had a 29-year-old person as contractor just leak all these documents in the first place. Is the administration embarrassed now that you can't track him down, that he's -- this cat-and-mouse game that's going on for all the world to see?
Q Jay, we're more than six hours removed from the supposed airplane he was supposedly going to be on, on the way to
I can note, as I have, that we have worked cooperatively with the Russians in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings and have a fairly substantial history of law enforcement cooperation with
Q -- so far they're cooperating?
Q Does the U.S. government believe that if he is allowed to leave
Q Quickly on immigration. One of the House Democrats who's tried to be involved in the talks has said that it's not -- doesn't believe it's a blow to immigration reform if a version of it does not pass the House before the August recess. It seems to be different from where the
But your question is a good one because it reflects that there are obstacles that remain before we get to where we want to be, which is to a place where we have bipartisan legislation passed by both houses of
Q Do you anticipate a bill out of the House?
So there are plenty of benefits here. There is an assessment by the CBO about the benefits of legal immigration reform and the benefits that that would have on innovation and entrepreneurship in this country, because, as you know, immigrants and the sons and daughters of immigrants in this country are disproportionately responsible for business startups, and business startups -- new businesses, small businesses -- help drive our economy forward and increase growth and job creation. So this legislation and this issue is much bigger with far broader benefits than I think is sometimes recognized.
Is that it? Yes, sir.
Q Can you talk a little bit about the government's assessment of President Mandela's condition -- or former President Mandela's condition, and what the thinking is of sort of how that might be handled going forward, given the President's trip as it stands?
He continues to look forward to the trip and to his visit to
Q Understanding that a lot would be in flux, but would you anticipate were he to pass before the President left, that some kind of visit, however changed in tone and what have you, would still take place?
Q Jay, back to the Snowden situation, can you detail a little bit more the President's personal involvement in this over the last few days? How often is he being briefed? Is he kind of personally monitoring things? Or is this all operating below him like at the
So this process continues and we're in conversations with other governments about this situation.
Q A question about climate and the President's speech tomorrow. Does the President feel that the
As you saw over the weekend, we announced that the President will speak tomorrow at
This is a serious challenge, as the President said, but it's one that we are uniquely qualified here in
Q But my question was if the
Q Even if she isn't actually confirmed?
Q I just have one other question. Do you have any reaction to the
Q And on affirmative action?
Q Yes, back to Snowden. Can you -- you mentioned the talks that are going on. Can you describe what kind of level they're at?
Q Well, you need --
Q And has there been any communication between the administration and
The U.S. is advising these governments that
Q Thank you. We had a story the other day about the insider threat program that the administration has to crack down on leaks. It goes beyond a lot of just national security leaks. And, just briefly, it deals with coworkers sort of monitoring other coworkers; the fact that agencies are telling employees that stress, divorce, financial problems could lead to leaks; and it equates leaking to espionage or treason. I'm wondering what the President's level of support is. Does he -- how knowledgeable is he about it? I believe it stemmed from an executive order, so perhaps he is knowledgeable about it.
Q Well, could you get back to us on that?
Q Jay, on Snowden, when you say you know where he is, do you mean -- how specifically do you know where he is? Do you know if he's in --
Q Yes. And the phone number there. (Laughter.)
Again, I'm not going to get into specifics, but it is our understanding that he's still in
Q And when you said that you would hope that
Q So how does that work? Does
Q Thank you. Going back to
Q And how would you describe the U.S. relations with
Q Did Hong Kong let
Q Thank you. Does the President believe that the Chinese have broken the trust of friendship of kind of relationship which the two countries are trying to make?
Q And the kind of statement that you're giving now -- is the relationship between the U.S. and
Q Is it the administration's perspective that the countries that are cooperating are offering safe harbor to
His failure to criticize these regimes suggest that his true motive throughout has been to injure the national security of
I think that with regards to the first part of your question, I've made the point that the unauthorized disclosure of classified information -- the kind of information that has already been disclosed -- has an enormous negative impact and there are ongoing damage assessments being done. But, certainly, it would be our assumption that any information -- any further classified information that he has that has not yet been divulged publicly would be compromised, or has been compromised.
Q Doesn't that undercut your argument that he's a criminal, that he's more like a spy? So why would they give him up? In other words, if he's going to hurt
Q Can I follow up and ask about the speech tomorrow?
Q So based on the President's State of the Union address and his discussion about environment and climate change since then, does the President have a dim view or have hopes of getting any energy and climate legislation through in his second term?
As you know, what he was able to do in the first term when it came to reducing -- or increasing car emission standards, was historic, and will have a dramatic impact on the amount of carbon pollution in the air. And he was able to do that, working with -- the administration was able to do that, working with automobile manufacturers, and it did not require congressional action.
Q Real quick on climate change. The big question is whether the
Q I was listening to the Assange presser before coming over, and they implied this physical threat to Snowden. So my first is very -- is there an implied physical threat to the safety, physical safety, of
Q Now or in the future? Of course not. My real question was, you are -- (laughter) --
Q You kept referring to how well we cooperated recently, and then right now you sort of made a critical remark about the "nature" of regimes in some countries, which seem to be a little contrary to what you've been saying.
Q Okay. When I look at this, I think the U.S. has been supporting people like Snowden throughout -- ever since the Soviet days. They were called dissidents, political dissidents. They were called political prisoners. I look at Snowden -- he's a classical political dissident. And I look at Manning -- he's a classical political prisoner. Why is that different? And if so, why don't they deserve being supported for the desire to tell the truth about their own system?
But, again, I will let the case itself --
Q The political prisoners whom you -- the political dissidents whom you supported committed crimes all the time, including terrorist crimes. You probably remember the Brazinskas case, where they hijacked the plane and killed the air hostess, and came to the U.S. and were given refuge by the U.S. because they were dissidents.
We very clearly believe that
Thank you all very much.
Q Has the President talked to the Mandela family?
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