We bring you a take-charge kind of guy:
Q Trent, we’ve heard your statements about — for two or three days about the President’s sentiments, but we haven’t actually seen him, and, more importantly, the people in Sri Lanka or Indonesia or the other locations have not seen him step out, as he did so often after, say, September 11 and some other tragedies. Can you tell us why?
MR. DUFFY: The President has already sent letters of condolences to the leaders in the seven countries. He has directed the United States to play a leading role in the recovery effort and we will continue to do that. The President is doing what is needed most, which is to authorize the U.S. government to play a leading role in the relief and recovery effort. And so he has extended his condolences — I have, on his behalf — and he continues to express his condolences.
Q Trent, I’m not questioning his — the actual question is whether the people of Asia and those who are suffering from all of this, whether there would be any benefit from seeing and hearing from him directly.
MR. DUFFY: I think the people of the region and around the world know that the President of the United States is saddened and has extended his condolences for this terrible tragedy.
Q A follow up on David’s question. Does the President not see any utility as to him taking a personal or a very public leadership role at a time like this worldwide?
MR. DUFFY: The President is taking a personal, public leadership role in this. He is — as I said, he’s been involved and he’s authorized the U.S. government to play a leading role in the relief and recovery efforts, and that’s what’s needed most, is to speed the relief and the recovery, the manpower, the materiel, the supplies to the region and to help with the recovery effort. And that’s what’s most important right now.
And for the second day in a row…
Q Besides getting his morning briefing, what else is the President doing?
MR. DUFFY: The President is continuing to think about the Inauguration and the State of the Union speech; he’s clearing some brush this morning; I think he has some friends coming in either today or tomorrow that he enjoys hosting; he’s doing some biking and exercising as he normally does, taking walks with the First Lady; and thinking about what he wants to accomplish in the second term.