Meanwhile, reporters tried to get White House spokeswoman Dana Perino to explain how the White House simultaneously condemns the Democrats for letting the Protect America Act lapse when the law lapsed because the administration and Republicans opposed it. See if you can target the recurring theme. From today's press briefing:
Q So what does the White House think of the op-ed from the Democrats that accuse the President of using scare tactics and playing political games? And they say if the President really believed the expiration of the act created a danger, he should have accepted their offer for an extension.
MS. PERINO: Well, one, the House proved that they couldn't even pass an extension, so that wasn't an option. An extension wasn't an option. But we had a response to the op-ed, that I issued.
I think that fear-mongering and the use of the phrase "scare tactics" is something that the Democrats -- it must be, like, one of their favorite words, or it must poll very well, because they use it almost every time.
What we have done is state facts; that this is what the law said; this is what the intelligence community says that they need; this is what the bill in front of the House says, and it's one that was designed with the intelligence community, in concert with them, so that they would be able to have the buy-in and say that they would get what they need out of that bill. It passed 68-29; we think they should go ahead and pass it.
The issue really right now between the House and the Senate, as far as I can tell, the biggest issue is retroactive liability protection, and in their op-ed they just had a passing glance to that issue. But it is one of the biggest sticking points, because at the end of the day if we don't have the companies helping us, then we won't have a program.
Q If this is such a big deal, why didn't the President accept another extension?
MS. PERINO: Because the House couldn't even pass an extension bill, even if they had wanted to. They couldn't pass it. What they need to pass is a bipartisan bill --
Q The President said he wouldn't accept it, so --
MS. PERINO: Well, that's true, but they wouldn't have been able to pass it anyway.
Q -- isn't it his problem that he lost a couple of days, if in fact he did?
MS. PERINO: Absolutely not. This -- no. The President is not going to accept the blame for House Democrats not taking up a bill that passed 68-29 in the Senate.
Q Yes, but if it's such -- if it's so urgent to protect the nation's security, as you have said --
MS. PERINO: But, Bill, it still didn't do what -- the things that I have said repeatedly that it needs to do. Even if they had extended it, it doesn't provide for retroactive liability protection, which is what the companies say that they need.