INTERVIEW: Dan Pfeiffer, White House Communications Director

Posted by Phil Riggan – email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - President Barack Obama is getting ready for his State of the Union Address this evening.  There is some talk that the President will call for a budget freeze as a down payment toward reducing the nation's deficit.

Dan Pfeiffer is the White House Communications Director and joined NBC12 from the Washington, D.C., this afternoon.

DIANE WALKER: I've heard some good things about you. First, that you definitely have the president's ear.

DAN PFEIFFER: Well, I appreciate that. Thank you for having me on.

DIANE WALKER: We have collected some comments from our viewers, and there's so many different things to talk about, but let's talk first about the president's facing a different congress. How will he balance winning over the future in terms of the economy and jobs and winning over Republicans?

DAN PFEIFFER: Well, what the president will talk about is how the great challenge of our nation is not a contest between Democrats and Republicans. It's a competition between America and the rest of the world for how we win the future, get the jobs of the future, the industry of the future here in America so that our children will inherit a country stronger than the one that we were born into, and so he's going to talk about that. Going to talk about how this is something Democrats can do alone and Republicans can do alone, we have to do together, and he's glad in the chamber tonight, there will be Democrats and Republicans sitting together to try and make it a more bipartisan place.

DIANE WALKER: And that brings the point about unity. We heard Ryan [Nobles] mention earlier about something happening for the first time in Congress where members will cross over the aisle and join the other party. Is that going to be the only symbolic expression of unity in the president's address tonight?

DAN PFEIFFER: Well, he will certainly -- he will talk about the changed environment in the Capitol, the changed political dynamic in Washington, and how -- it's not enough just to sit together, we have to work together. And we need to build on tonight so that we can do things like we did back right before Christmas where Democrats and Republicans came together to pass a tax cut package that would make pay checks a little bit bigger for Americans and provide a real boost to the economy.

DIANE WALKER:  You know, Dan, people in communities all across this great nation are talking about jobs, jobs, and more jobs. People want to go back to work. Will we hear anything specific about how President Obama plans to do that?

DAN PFEIFFER: You absolutely will. You will hear specifics about the president's plan to win the future, create jobs and grow the economy. You will hear about new investments in clean energy that will create and bring jobs to the future here in the United States, about new plans to rebuild our roads, railways and runways so we have a modern infrastructure and that means jobs here in America and how we can do more to rebuild the manufacturing sector in this country so there will be more jobs. You will hear a lot about jobs tonight. We've made a lot of progress, but the president knows we have more work to do to bring the unemployment rate down and get more folks back to work.

DIANE WALKER: You see it as an encouraging speech, calling for unity?  

DAN PFEIFFER: It will be an optimistic speech about the shared challenge all Americans have and it will be very optimistic about our future and how we will make sure that America remains number one in the world in an exceptional place.

DIANE WALKER: All right. Dan Pfeiffer, thank you so much for joining us here on First at Four.

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