Transcript: The President's Interview with Print Media Columnists
Q: The less optimistic people would say just
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, that's like saying, success is no violence. I'm not so sure how realistic that is. I also believe that this is going to take a while, and I know it's necessary. I know it's necessary. And people say, well, it's because you're only trying to avoid failure. No, quite the contrary. I am trying to show success. It will affect Iran. A free Iraq will affect Iran. It will affect Syria. And that's why when you say and the problem with the President is, you then put it up you put different decisions up based upon a two-year window based upon my presence in office, as opposed to conditions necessarily on the ground. So Krauthammer says, you got two years to take care of business, man. Yours is, your got two years to make this happen.
And one of the things we try to think about is how to institutionalize change so that certain things can't be undone. I fully recognize that part of the problem we have in our democracy is that change of government can be disruptive to try to do big things. But we've managed it before. We've been through the Cold War. We had a Harry S. Truman who fought the first battles of the Cold War in Korea, and yet the Cold War was continued by both Republicans and Democrats. So it's a different kind of struggle, but it's got the same kind of context to it, as far as I'm concerned.
Q: You mentioned the economy a moment ago
THE PRESIDENT: Do you know anything about the economy?
Q: I'm learning. On a daily basis the stock market is voting in favor of your tax cut policies. On a daily basis. So I guess the question is, whatever the configuration of the new Congress, would you say publicly that you would veto any tax increase proposals regarding cap gains and dividends and
THE PRESIDENT: The problem is not me having to veto anything. The problem is the Congress letting them expire. That's the dilemma we face, so you need to be arguing for permanence because absent action, the tax rates go up. And so all they've got to do is stall. They're not going to raise taxes. What they'll do is say, let these tax cuts lapse.
Q: But if I may, sir, in 2007, under certain kinds of pay-go rules, the tax cuts could be put on the chopping block immediately.
THE PRESIDENT: I don't know that. That's the first I've heard of that. I need to check that. Is that right? Or you're giving the hook? (Laughter. )
MR. BOLTEN: I'm giving the hook, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Interesting. I'll look into that.
Q: Are you satisfied, Mr. President, that you've got you were talking about institutionalizing these things are you satisfied that U. S. agencies and departments are in the right direction for this long war? My understanding is that the Defense Department