One wonders why, if the Assministration was already regulating CO2 asDana claims, they fought this case all the way to the Supremem Court?
Q With the court’s decision today, will the President direct the EPA to decide whether greenhouse gases contribute to the changing climate?
MS. PERINO: I saw that opinion, that ruling. There were several of them that came out today. We haven’t had a chance to review the opinion in full. People at EPA and across the government are going to have to do that. I can’t speak to the broader implications of the bill [sic]. One thing I can say is part of this case that was being argued was with respect to vehicles and regulating CO2 out of the tailpipe. And one of the ways that you do that is by making cars more efficient, so burning less gas, going more miles. And that’s precisely what we have been working to do with our increases in mileage standards for both light trucks, SUVs, and we have asked for that same authority in regards to cars.
But in regards to this case — so in that regard, we are regulating the vehicle sector. As far as the broader implications about the case, we’re going to have to let EPA take a good look at it, and they’re going to have to analyze it and think about what it means for any future policy decisions.
Q Well, on a broader face, why did the administration and the EPA refuse to take a position on whether greenhouse gases cause global warming?
MS. PERINO: No, we — that’s actually not what the case was saying. We have long said that greenhouse gases are contributing to a warming planet, and that human-generated carbon dioxide is a large contributor to that aspect of it.
Q Then it wasn’t an EPA policy, which is what this case is about.
MS. PERINO: The question was — it is a legal question of whether or not the federal government has the legal authority to regulate greenhouse gases as a pollutant. And the prior administration said that they thought they had that legal authority, but they did not take action. We questioned whether we did have the legal authority. Now the Supreme Court has settled that matter for us, and we’re going to have to take a look and analyze it and see where we go from there.
Dana Blithely Admits That War Funding Will Not Expire In April
Q Back to war funding. As I’m sure you’re aware, Senator Reid is now saying that he’s signing on to the more stringent legislation, the Feingold legislation. Do you have a comment on that?
MS. PERINO: There’s just these shifting sands when it comes to the Democrats and their decisions. It’s almost shifting so fast it’s like a sandstorm. Last Thursday the Senate Democrats passed a bill that said that — that mandated our troops leaving within 120 days from last Thursday. Over the weekend, when we said this money is going to run out in April, and he said, oh, no, no, no, they’ll be fine until July — well, then, what is it? Are you wanting troops to leave 120 days from last Thursday, or 120 days from July or whenever it is that you get this bill to the President’s desk?
Call It The Sampson Effect
Q Last week I asked you about Alberto Gonzales’ testimony before the committee, and why didn’t he suggest to them that he would like to testify earlier. And you said to me that as they had invited him, that they should be the ones to suggest that he testify earlier. Then suddenly Dan Bartlett says over the weekend that he wants to testify earlier. So what changed?
MS. PERINO: The Attorney General thinks it’s in everyone’s best interests, and we agree with him, that he be able to get up and talk to Congress sooner than later. I think the American people would like to see us resolve this so that we can move on and work on other things. So we’d like to see the hearing moved up to next week.
Q Did Kyle Sampson’s testimony change that?
MS. PERINO: No, I think it’s been a culmination of factors. It has dragged on for many weeks. It seems to heat up over the last couple of weeks. And I think that the Attorney General thinks it’s in everyone’s best interests if he testifies earlier.
Q So he doesn’t feel that this is starting to get a little bit too hot?
MS. PERINO: No, he just wants to clear the air. They’ve been fully responsive in terms of the document requests. And now that that’s completed, I think it now makes sense to try to move that hearing up. If the senators are going to be here next week, I see no reason why they couldn’t go ahead and have that hearing.
The Most Inept
Q This week’s Economist, which is a fairly friendly magazine, refers to the Bush administration —
MS. PERINO: Fairly friendly to who? (Laughter.)
Q Fairly friendly to the Bush administration —
MS. PERINO: Wow.
Q — refers to the Bush administration as “this most inept of presidencies.” I wondered if you had a comment.
MS. PERINO: No.
Q I want to clarify on the — you’re saying it was a bad idea, then, for Speaker Pelosi to go for all these various reasons to Syria. It’s a bad idea, then, for Jim Baker to have gone, a bad idea for Frank Wolf to go as well, right?
MS. PERINO: We think that it is not a good idea for U.S. officials to go and meet with Assad, because it alleviates that pressure, and also because meetings haven’t produced anything. They’ve been meeting just to meet, and he doesn’t change his behavior. In fact, he uses those meetings as a reason to say that he doesn’t need to do anything.
Q When you don’t meet with him, he doesn’t change his behavior either.
MS. PERINO: Well, we’ll see.
More Time-Wasters From Les
Q Yes, thank you, Dana. Two questions on American business. In the —
MS. PERINO: American business for 200. (Laughter.) I’ve always wanted to be on that show. Go ahead, Les, I’m sorry.
Q That’s all right. In the just released 2007 annual report of The Washington Post Company, Chairman Donald Graham writes, “The Washington Post circulation continued to fall, and a sharp drop in classified advertising raised questions about the future of our business.” Question, since The Washington Post is a leading part of one of this nation’s most important businesses, do you and the President share Don Graham’s expressed questioning about its future?
MS. PERINO: No. I think that the free press is alive and well.
Q By striking contrast, The New York Post is constantly gaining circulation. And my question, do you and the President believe that The Washington Post might also gain, rather than lose, if its editorial and reportorial writing were more like The New York Post rather than like The New York Times, which is also seriously losing circulation?
MS. PERINO: Maybe they ought to look at the tabloid format, I don’t know.
Q But how about the content, not just —
MS. PERINO: I’m not going to comment on that.