Republicans are rather gleefully circulating this rather embarrassing exchange from today’s White House press conference. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs gets grilled by ABC’s Jake Tapper on why Democrats have failed to extend any of the Bush tax cuts, and Gibbs’ attempts at evasion are awfully transparent:
QUESTION: David Axelrod said something that the president has been saying for a long time, which is Republicans are holding the middle class tax cut hostage. As I understand it, the Democrats haven’t introduced a bill in the Senate and Republicans have. Wouldn’t there have to be a bill that Republicans are threatening to block or blocking before anything is being held hostage?
GIBBS: I don’t know what bills have been introduced in the Senate.
QUESTION: Isn’t the real problem the fact that there are Democrats who agree on with the Republicans on this issue? There are 47.
GIBBS: I think we could have done middle class. But the Republicans weren’t interested.
QUESTION: You don’t need the support of the Republicans in the House to pass anything.
GIBBS: No, but to play along with your — if a bill has to become — you got to pass them in both houses and you are not going to get 60 votes to go and just do middle-class tax cuts, were you?
QUESTION: I guess my question is why not try? If you actually think that this is a winning campaign issue.
GIBBS: Because the Republicans said they weren’t going to do it.
QUESTION: You don’t know unless you [try].
Here’s video of the exchange: