White House pressed over 'pink slips' for teachers claim

This is a rush transcript from "The Five," February 28, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: We have been hearing all week about warnings regarding the looming disaster once we hit the sequestration deadline. For example, yesterday at the White House, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said that the first pink slips were already going out for teachers. But it turned out that's not true.

Jay Carney, arguably having the worst week in Washington, was pressed about it today.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: To the Department of Education, and to the superintendent of schools in the district that you mentioned for specifics about. I'm certainly not familiar with it.

I am familiar of the example. I would refer you to the Department of the Education and to the superintendent of the school district for more information about it. I don't have it.

Let me rewind the tape where I said I would refer you to Department of Education, which is here in Washington, D.C., not a local school district for more information.

Well, obviously, the school district is a good place to go for information about the school district.

REPORTER: You said that it was false, it was wrong. You acknowledged that.

CARNEY: Hey, John, I don't have more for you on it.


PERINO: Such fond memory of the days.

Kimberly, do you think that the staff who gave Secretary Duncan information about the pink slips was getting his rear end chewed today?

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE, CO-HOST: Absolutely. I mean, that couldn't have gone worse. It's not a good situation. It makes everybody look bad. It makes White House look bad.

I mean, Jay Carney certainly wanted no part of that. He was punting, you know, faster than the last, what, quarter at the Super Bowl with two minutes left.


GUILFOYLE: Let me tell you -- it happens. But that wasn't a good situation. I don't think he even handled it very well. This is a big issue for people to grab on to.

PERINO: There was another one, Eric, this week where the White House said that they didn't know about the DHS decision by ICE, which is the Immigration, Custom Enforcement to release some of the prisoners that they were holding there, that were wanted for more questioning about possible illegal entry into the United States. Is it possible that a decision like that could happen without anybody knowing about it?

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: I certainly don't know that. But Jan Brewer asked the right question. Who the heck -- I think she said who the hell -- but who the heck is running this place if one hand doesn't know what the other hand is doing, releasing illegal immigrants? Some may have records, who knows what they're doing.

Can I just point out what they didn't talk about on that little press conference, that Arne Duncan said that thousands of teachers would be laid off, including some in this county called Kanawha County. All right?

Hold on. But when you pressed, again, when they pressed how many teachers, no one knew until the reporters did some work. It turns out there were 104 transfer slips, no pink slips. There were five pink slips given out, but they had nothing, absolutely nothing to do with sequestration.

Here's the point -- from thousands of teachers laid off because of sequestration, to five pink slips getting for other reasons other than the sequestration. Who knows what Janet Napolitano says? Three thousand TSA agents. Who knows when border agents are going to be left? Maybe there is nothing.

GUILFOYLE: Plausible deniability.

PERINO: Greg, one of the things they said was that they didn't know about this nonpolitical person who's name was faceless person who is now going to retire from ICE. That they were going to do it. So, then, if it's not given any of the ages any guidance on what they're supposed to do to prioritize, are they worried that there are other things that are going to happen that they're going to have to distance themselves?

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: Well, I mean, releasing some of these people that might have involved human trafficking, that are linked to drug cartels, and these -- the guys that work for ICE, they're really angry because this screwed up a lot of cases.

Basically, the White House is doing is they're playing chicken within a train. But we're the ones on the track. You know what? It reminds me of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" episode where Larry David planned a mugging in order to impress his shrink.

This is what Obama is doing. He creates this mugging in which he's going to come and save the victim. But it's not happening.

Meanwhile, Maxine Waters claims that 170 million jobs, 170 millions jobs are going to be lost. We only have 150 million jobs in the United States. So, I can't -- I think she is counting Mars, Pluto and Venus where she's from.

GUILFOYLE: You got to love her sound bite.


PERINO: Bob, do you think that the White House has overplayed its hand on this? Even though, setting aside, Republicans are going to be blamed no matter what, even just for getting up in the morning. But do you think on this stuff, should they have been a little bit tighter on their information?

BOB BECKEL, CO-HOST: I think that they should have done half of what they've done in terms of the campaign style, warnings out there. Having said, they made a decision to do this. And I'm sure that there are staffers throughout the government who want to come up with ideas about things that happen that they can send up to a chain to their boss, or the White House and say, look, I found something. Now, but here's the truth: you cannot prioritize. You are $85 million across the board cuts --

BOLLING: Billion, billion.

BECKE: Billion rather -- across the board cuts. There are impacts from it.

And you can sit here and laugh about it and say it's all a joke and the rest of it -- $85 billion in seven months it's going to impact people's lives in one way or another.

GUTFELD: But the total government spending in 2013 will still be greater than 2012.

BECKEL: That's because, Greg, of the entitlement spending and inflation. It has nothing to do with that.

BOLLING: That's disingenuous, Bob. That's disingenuous.

The government budget, the federal budget, has gone up 98 percent in last 12 years, it has gone probably about 40 percent in six years. There's no reason we can't cut 2.3 percent. And it's not across the board. It's defense and nondiscretionary spending.

BECKEL: Listen, when you say this argument the Republicans are going to use and you use, now, and Rove used, that this year, we're spending $14 billion or $18 billion than we did last year, the fact of the matter is, in discretionary spending, we are going to be sending less.


BECKEL: -- throws in entitlement programs.

BOLLING: You know why? Because no one on the left was willing to even look at entitlement programs.

BECKEL: That is absolutely wrong. That is absolutely wrong.

BOLLING: But, Bob, please, the right gave tax increases. They gave Obama big tax increases at the end of the year. If the left was willing to participate and negotiate, put entitlement programs on the board, you wouldn't have --

BECKEL: Entitlement reforms were in the Budget Control Act.

BOLLING: But they put -- no, no.

BECKEL: Yes, they were.

BOLLING: I'm talking about raising taxes at the end of the year, the right said, go ahead, raise highest income tax from 36 percent to 39.6 percent.

BECKEL: If you look at the Budget Control Act, it called for a mix of spending cuts, revenue and taking on entitlements.

PERINO: But they haven't put it on the table. Then they hive off entitlement spending for this particular exercise and then we'll get to do this three weeks from now when the government runs out of money. So, we never are short of anything to talk about.

You are short all the time.

GUTFELD: You are never short --


GUTFELD: I didn't see that one coming.

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