Burton On Washington Unplugged: After Gregg, White House "Moving Forward"
On CBSNews.com's "Washington Unplugged" Web show this week, Deputy White House Press Secretary Bill Burton told guest moderator John Dickerson that the White House is "moving forward" following the surprise decision by Republican Sen. Judd Gregg from consideration to become commerce secretary.
Gregg, a self-proclaimed fiscal conservative, said he made the decision because of ideological differences with the administration, which has pushed hard in recent weeks for the now $790 billion dollar economic stimulus plan.
"At the end of the day, it's true that Sen. Gregg had some misgivings about the position and decided that he didn't want to serve, and we're moving forward," said Burton. "We're going to have a strong nominee who is going to fill that role."
Burton also said the president had not become pessimistic about the prospects for bipartisanship in Washington despite Gregg's decision and scant Republican support for the stimulus package.
"He is still the eternal optimist," Burton said, echoing the president's own comments. "He really feels like we are going to make a lot of progress as it relates to working with Republicans and with Democrats in order to make progress on the things that are important to the American people."
Burton added that making Washington more bipartisan is "a long process."
Dickerson asked if the president was learning the limits of bipartisanship in light of the ideological differences between Republicans and Democrats.
"There are philosophical differences," he said. "There's no doubt about that. And that's why we had elections and that's why – you know this last election what the American people said very clearly was that they wanted President Obama to lead this country."
I think that this is the beginning, not the end of a process."
Burton also noted that there was some Republican support for the economic plan, and said that President Obama expected Republican support on other initiatives in the future, including health care and energy policy reform.
Below, watch Burton on this week's episode of "Washington Unplugged." The 15-minute episode also includes a journalists roundtable, an update on the plane crash in Buffalo, and an interview with author Thomas Ricks, author of "The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq 2006-2008."
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