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White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Friday sought to downplay the defection of 47 House Democrats on a GOP bill to halt the Obama administration's plan to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees into the U.S. this year, despite President Obama's veto threat and last-minute lobbying by administration officials.

"I'm not sure that the analysis holds that the efforts by the White House were counterproductive; they just weren't as productive as we would have liked," spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters traveling with Obama en route to Malaysia on Friday.

"I think, just for context, it's about a third of the House Democratic Caucus who expressed disagreement with our position," Earnest continued. "The second is that a substantial number of House Democrats have actually made the very same case that [the president] has made about the moral responsibility of the United States and the impact that bringing refugees into the United States has on our leadership and standing in the world."

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