Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

Jeebus on a pogo stick, trying to get a straight answer from Little Scottie on just what the preznit’s principles are in regards to Social Security is yoeman’s work.

First, one press pooler was as confused as I was by the preznit’s comments this monring.

Q So the President says that he will not prejudge any solution, but then he rules out a tax increase. Isn’t that prejudging a solution?

Then it really got ugly.

Q Would raising the $87,900 ceiling cap on taxes, would that constitute a tax increase? Or is he open to doing that?

MR. McCLELLAN: There are several pieces of legislation that are out there right now by members of Congress to address this problem. The President wants to work with those members who have put forward some of those proposals. You’re referencing one of the legislative proposals that has been put forward. The President has outlined his principles. He’s made that very clear. And what we are doing is not trying to get into what we’re against, what we’re for. What we’re focused on is what we can get accomplished together to get this done. But the principles, I think, are very clear. He does not support raising payroll taxes to strengthen Social Security.

Q Does that violate —

MR. McCLELLAN: The fact of the matter is that if we don’t solve this problem payroll taxes are going up big time. We need to solve this problem so that doesn’t happen.

Q So I’m still unclear, does that violate the principles or not?

MR. McCLELLAN: Terry, this is what you’re trying to get me into talking about specific pieces of legislation. I don’t think it serves us well to get into a discussion —

Q Put the legislation aside.

MR. McCLELLAN: Okay, let me finish — no, no, let me the finish the point I’m making. The President is firmly committed to working in a bipartisan way with those who want to solve this problem. This is a very real and growing problem. We want to get it done. And we want to reach out to members, listen to their ideas. But his principles are very clear. And I think if you’re talking about increasing taxes, the President has made it clear that he would not support that.

Q Just to — you caused a little confusion here. The President opposes raising the rate of the payroll tax flat out. Does the President also propose — oppose, sorry — does the President also oppose raising the ceiling of the income on which the tax falls, in other words, above the $87,900?

MR. McCLELLAN: Like I said, if you’re talking about increasing payroll taxes, the President has said that is not how we should proceed. We should proceed with solving this problem so that we don’t keep facing tax increases or benefit cuts for future generations of workers. The President —

OK, I think I get it now. The preznit’s principles do not favor either increasing the payroll tax or raising the income ceiling, right? Oh, wait, someone is still confused.

Q The President, just now in the Oval Office, took something off the table. We’re trying to figure out what it was that he took off the table.

MR. McCLELLAN: He didn’t just now take something off the table. He has laid out those principles for quite some time. And the American people spoke in support of those.

Q The President has taken something off the table. He said there is to be no increase in payroll taxes. And we want to know, what does that mean? Does it mean, there will be no increase in the rate of payroll taxes? Yes? And does it also mean that no more income than the $87,300 right now would be subject —

MR. McCLELLAN: I think the President views this as if payroll taxes are going up, you’re raising payroll taxes. That is not something he is for.

There, how much clearer can you get? “If payroll taxes are going up, you’re raising payroll taxes.”

Q Scott, is raising the income level that would be subject to payroll taxes tantamount to a payroll tax increase in the President’s view?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, Keith, we’ve been through this question now three or four times.

No? NO?! Shit, Scottie, I thought I had the preznit’s principles all figured out!

Q You didn’t answer it —

MR. McCLELLAN: And I’ve addressed it. I don’t have anything to add.

Q You have not completely addressed it. You’re leaving open — you’re leaving open the idea that he might be able to consider —

MR. McCLELLAN: I understand.

Q — by not directly answering the question.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I’m not leaving open any ideas.

Q So we don’t know what he’s talking about.

MR. McCLELLAN: I’m saying that the President’s principle is no increase in payroll taxes.

Q So I’m just asking you, is that an increase in payroll taxes?

MR. McCLELLAN: And I’ve addressed this question.

Q Scott?

Q Not in a way that any of us understand.

MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead — go ahead.

Go ahead? GO AHEAD MY ASS!! Just answer one way or another, is the preznit opposed to raising the ceiling or not?

Sheesh, I wonder if there is another way to ask this simple question?

Q Scott, back on Social Security. Sorry. You just specifically mentioned that Senator Graham’s plan is among the ones that you would like to consider.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I said he is someone we want to work with.

Q Now, his plan provides for raising the ceiling. Should we conclude from your — I mean, Scott, we’ve been playing word games for the last half-an-hour. Is it fair for us to conclude that you have neither endorsed, nor opposed the idea of —

MR. McCLELLAN: I think we’re trying to resolve this from this podium, resolve this —

Q No, we’re not. Scott —

MR. McCLELLAN: — resolve what the President stands for in terms of legislation. And what I’m saying is I’m trying to avoid that from this podium, because it’s best to have these discussions directly with members of Congress. We haven’t had a chance to sit down and talk at length with Senator Graham about his proposal. The President certainly hasn’t had that opportunity. He welcomes — he welcomes ideas.

Shit, shit, shit. The fact of the matter is the preznit has no principles, he would not know a principle if it fell on him from some great height. Get ready, this should be something.