NBC's Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd, filling for Chris Matthews as host of "Hardball" tonight, conducted a lengthy interview with White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
Todd questioned Gibbs on whether the White House really thought that Congress could handle all the items on President Obama's agenda, including energy legislation, health care reform, and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT). Gibbs, coming off a pretty significant victory in getting climate change legislation through the House, sounded quite confident, even saying they could handle "financial regulatory reform" and place Sotomayor on the Court in good time:
There's no doubt that it will be hard. The easiest thing for this town to do is the same old thing. I think we've proven, in a short period of time, we're not afraid to tackle a lot of big issues, and I think we've seen progress in Congress dealing with a lot on their plate.
Todd brought up the stimulus package, calling it a "political football" for Republicans. He asked Gibbs point-blank when we should start to judge whether it's working or not. Gibbs replied," I think we should begin to judge it now." Todd then pressed Gibbs, asking to judge it on what, and if we should include recent job losses. Gibbs backed off a bit, and told Todd that we should take the "long view." Gibbs called the stimulus a two-year plan, "so it's not all gonna be fixed in 90 or a 100 days."
At the end of the interview, Todd played a clip of Gibbs saying firmly that the Obama administration would end DADT, and then a clip from a month ago Gibbs appearing to soften its position by saying they want Congress to do it. Gibbs gave lackluster responses, especially when later asked why Obama doesn't stop the discharges of critical gay service members, like Arabic translators. However Gibbs did emphasize that when Obama faces re-election in 2012, DADT will have been repealed.
Watch the interview below.