Intoday’s gaggle Pony Blow assures us that 27 US deaths and three times that number of Iraqis killed is simply good PR work by our “enemies”.
Q Over the weekend we just had the third worst day in the war in terms of U.S. casualties, and then today I think there were 70 people killed in Baghdad. Is the President going to talk about the extent, the increase in violence and what can be done about it?
MR. SNOW: Well, he has talked about it. And the President also noted the other day that what’s really going on is that you can expect as there is push-back that there is going to be some increase in violence.
You also understand, Terry, that they know that the media will focus on body counts and will focus on large acts of violence because that for the terrorists is a victory. But what is a defeat are some of the things going on behind the scenes right now in terms of the political reconciliation efforts, in terms of you saw Muqtada al Sadr saying to the members of his party and the council representatives, get back to doing business. It’s one of the reasons why they had a quorum yesterday in the meeting of council representatives.
Pony Blow Don’t Know!
Q Are we building the largest embassy in the world in Baghdad, and also permanent military bases?
MR. SNOW: “The largest embassy”? Again, Gordon —
Q In the world.
MR. SNOW: — I’m unaware of embassy construction plans, so I’m afraid you’ve got me totally off balance on that one. I’ll try to find out. And as we’ve always said when it comes to military, we will work with the Iraqis and respond to their requests.
Earlier this monthKarl Rove bet his fellow conservatives that Chimpy would not sign a tax increase during his final two years in office. Rove loses.
Q The President, in the State of the Union — I mean, in the radio address, mentioned health care. He did it in the context of tax reform. So does that mean his proposal will be revenue-neutral?
MR. SNOW: Yes.
Q Tony, you say that the health care plan is revenue-neutral, but he is proposing raising taxes on some Americans. And isn’t that what he blasted Democrats for wanting to do all during the mid-term election campaign?
MR. SNOW: Take a look at the proposal. Once you’ve been fully briefed on the proposal, we’ll be happy to talk about the characterizations.
Q Maybe you can explain this to me. If you tax company-provided health insurance as taxable income, even with the standard deduction, isn’t that going to raise more than just 20 percent of people’s taxes?
MR. SNOW: Again, there’s the prospect that under the President’s plan, more than 100 million people are going to pay less for health insurance, and millions more who are not presently insured will have access to it. So as we march through this, we feel pretty confident. And, frankly, we’ve taken a very conservative approach to the impacts of this.
Q But, Tony, your early fact sheet says health insurance would be considered taxable income.
MR. SNOW: That is correct.
Q And that means some people who are over the line would be paying more taxes for their health insurance.
MR. SNOW: They might be — some people would be paying more for health insurance.
Q And that’s a raise in income tax.
MR. SNOW: Well, on the other hand, what you also have — that’s a static way of looking at a situation where you’re going to have dynamic effects. So people will be able to make choices. You will have the opportunity to make choices about what you get in terms of health care. There will be market forces for people to provide, within certain barriers, programs that are tailored to individual needs. So, again, I would suggest taking a look at it. But, yes, some people would pay more.
And now, Your Daily Les.
Q Thank you. With regard to today’s March for Life, does the President believe that the positions of Catholic Senators Kennedy, Collins, Dodd, Biden, Kerry, Mikulski and Leahy and Speaker Pelosi on this issue, and their not being ex-communicated, means that Catholic Church opposition to all but partial-birth abortion is now as absent as the one-time voluble church opposition to contraception? (Laughter.) Do you want me to repeat it?
MR. SNOW: No. The President is not going to sit around and engage in the chin-pulling exercise of trying to determine how people may, in fact, interpret Catholic dogma. His belief on the sanctity of life is well known.
Q Does he think that the senators, though — I mean, all of these Catholic senators have refused to support this right-to-life thing.
MR. SNOW: Les, I will permit you to stand in judgment of their Catholicism. The President has already made his views known.