That McClellan's A Slippery Little Varmint
Can you imagine being a waiter and simply trying to get White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan's order in a restaurant?
Waiter: May I take your order, sir?You get the point. If he's not the most consistently slippery little varmint ever to roam the halls of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, I don't know who is. Here's more excerpts from Friday's White House press briefing when reporters, like children at a county fair trying to catch the greased pig, attempt to get McClellan to answer the most straightforward of questions:
McClellan: Thank you. I appreciate your question, but as you know I've already answered that.
Waiter: But I just got here.
McClellan: So, what are you saying? Are you blame gaming?
Waiter: Would you like to hear the specials?
McClellan: I said I stand by what I said previously.
Question: What do you say to reports that the White House is very jittery about everything that's been happening, and that the President is under a great strain?If I had known earlier in my life that you could make that kind of money by just lying an hour or two every day, I would have gotten much better at it... Scott's parents must be so proud of what he does for a living.
McClellan: Well, I think you've been covering the President today. The President has been having a pretty full day here at the White House. Like I said, we've got a lot of important work on the plate, and we are moving forward on the President's agenda.
Question: Where do these reports come from, that they -- do they have any validity?
McClellan: From your colleagues, who write them.
McClellan: From your colleagues, who write them.
Question: I mean, do they have any basis?
McClellan: What do you mean, "do they have any basis"?
Question: That's what I'm asking.
McClellan: Ask those colleagues.
Question: No, I'm asking you --
McClellan: I told you what we're doing.
Question: -- you know what's going on in the White House.
McClellan: Yes, we're focused on the priorities of the American people.
Question: Come on, Scott, have you got a case of the shakes, or not? Come on. (Laughter.) Hold up the hands, let's see (Laughter.)
Question: That's a very stock answer. Is there concern about all of these things that are happening?
McClellan: "All these things that are happening" ---
Question: The grand jury and the --
McClellan: I just mentioned a lot of things that are happening, and that we're getting done for the American people. We've got a lot of big challenges facing this country, and the President is focused on addressing those challenges. That's where he's keeping his focus.
Question: Does the President still have full confidence in Karl Rove?
McClellan: Jessica, this is asking questions all in the context of an ongoing investigation. And --
Question: He's one of the President's chief advisors. Does he have confidence in his ability to perform the job?
McClellan: Karl continues to do his duties as Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the President, and you're trying to ask a question in the context of an ongoing investigation. The President has made it very clear, we're not going to comment on an ongoing investigation. What we're going to do is support the efforts of the special prosecutor --
Question: But, Scott, there's a difference between commenting in a way that would interfere with an investigation and conveying the sense and the clear idea that the President is engaged and concerned --
McClellan: And I've already answered that question, and what I said previously still stands. So I would encourage you to go back and look at what I said previously. But you're asking this question today in the context of some grand jury testimony that's going on. So that's asking a question in the context of an ongoing investigation.
The President has made it clear that he wants to get to the bottom of this investigation. It is ongoing. The best way we can help the investigation proceed forward is not to comment on it here from this podium. We'll be glad to talk about it once the investigation has come to a conclusion. And we look forward to that time, once it does.
Question: But going to the workings of the White House, you said that there is an extensive White House staff that can take up the issues. Is the suggestion that Karl Rove is less and less engaged and less able to perform his duties?
McClellan: I didn't say that at all, did I?
Question: What are you saying, then? Is Karl Rove fully engaged, and is this White House --
McClellan: I just said he's continuing to do his duties.
Question: Scott, I just have two quick follows to some questions that were asked earlier. One, are you trying -- are you saying that, CIA leak aside, you can't say that the President has full confidence in Karl Rove?
McClellan: Maybe you didn't hear what I was saying earlier. I said, what I said previously still stands.
Question: What did you say previously? You say that all the time.
McClellan: You can go back and look at it. I'll be glad to share the transcript of when that question came up last time.
Question: Either he does or he does not. So he does have full confidence?
McClellan: We've already addressed that, Jim.
Question: Why can't you repeat it?
Question: But why can't -- if you've addressed it, why can't you repeat it for me? Clearly --
McClellan: Why do you have to keep asking a question that I've already answered when --
Question: Because I don't know the answer.
McClellan: No, because you're asking in the context of an ongoing investigation. And it's very easy to go and look at our transcripts and pull that information --
Question: That's why I said -- that's why I said, "set the leak aside," just in general are you refusing to --
McClellan: Yes. And I said I stand by what I said previously.
Question: Okay, topic two, since you won't answer that question.
McClellan: I did answer that question.
Question: Okay. When we take a look at yesterday's event, last night the Pentagon put out a statement saying essentially that they regretted if there's any perception that the event was staged or that the participants were coached. Does the President regret that --
McClellan: There you go again, because the statement also said that these were their own thoughts that they were expressing. And you heard from the troops.
Question: Right. But the statement also said what I just said. Did it not end --
McClellan: The statement was -- the statement --
Question: -- did it not end by saying that we regret --
McClellan: -- said a lot more than what you just said.
Question: But I'm asking, does the President share -- does the President share the concerns of the Pentagon --
McClellan: Well, it's a wrong perception to suggest that the troops weren't saying what they thought and what they believed. They were expressing their views.
Question: But the Pentagon felt that they needed to put out that statement and clarify what happened, but also said that they regret there was a false perception --
McClellan: Sure. There was a lot of attention given to it.