George W. Bush: Guardian of Life
At the massive fibathon held daily at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (also known as the White House press briefing) Press Secretary Scott McClellan danced like Patrick Swayze yesterday when asked about the new South Dakota ban on abortions. He spent the entire time not responding specifically to the president’s stance on the law in favor of emphasizing – and please don’t read any further if you just ate – how much Bush works on building a “culture of life in America.”
Isn’t this the same George W. Bush who executed so many people as governor of Texas that they had to replace the electric chair with electric bleachers?
Q: Scott, as you probably know, the Governor of South Dakota has now signed this abortion measure that the state legislature passed. Do you anticipate the administration will weigh in on this as it makes its way through the courts?I guess the president's efforts to build a "culture of life" and to protect the "sanctity of life" don't extend to the tens of thousands of Iraqis whose blood is on his hands or the 2,300 military people we've lost for nothing.
McClellan: Well, let me express to you the President's views. The President believes very strongly that we should be working to build a culture of life in America, and that's exactly what he has worked to do. We have acted in a number of ways, practical ways, to reduce the number of abortions in America. The President strongly supported the ban on partial-birth abortions. This is an abhorrent procedure, and we are vigorously defending that legislation. We have acted in a number of other ways, as well.
Now, I think this issue goes to the larger issue of the type of people that the President appoints to the Supreme Court. And the President has made it very clear he doesn't have a litmus test when it comes to the Supreme Court, that he will nominate people to the bench that strictly interpret our Constitution and our laws. But this is law that was passed by the South Dakota legislature and signed into law by the Governor of that state. And the President's view when it comes to pro-life issues has been very clearly stated, and his actions speak very loudly, too.
Q: So, again -- now it's going to wend its way through the courts. Will the administration weigh in, in the appeals process that is going to inevitably --
McClellan: Again, this is a state -- this is a state law.
Q: No, but it's going to become a federal matter --
McClellan: It's a state matter. The President is going to continue working to build a culture of life. He believes very strongly that we ought to value every human life, and that we ought to take steps to protect the weak and vulnerable, and that's exactly what we have done. Now, you're getting into the question of a state law, and so that's something that will -- the state will pursue.
Q: But, Scott, no, maybe you don't understand -- it's going to become a federal issue because it's going --
McClellan: Well, let me reiterate. Maybe I'm not being clear -- because the President has stated what his view is when it comes to the sanctity of life. He's committed to defending the sanctity of life. He is pro-life with three exceptions -- rape, incest and the life of -- when the life of the mother is in danger. That's his position. This is a state law, Peter. And I'm not going to --
Q: So he would embrace this law as passed by South Dakota?
McClellan: This state law, as you know, bans abortions in all instances, with the exception of the life of the mother.
Q: And not rape and incest, and so therefore, he must disagree with it, doesn't he? Doesn't he, Scott?
McClellan: The President has a strong record of working to build a culture of life, and that's what he will continue to do.
Q: I know, but you're not answering my question, you're dodging.
McClellan: No, I'm telling you that it's a state issue --
Q: He is opposed to abortion laws that forbid it for rape and incest --
McClellan: Les, look at the President --
Q: Isn't that true, Scott? That's what you said.
McClellan: Les, let me respond. Look at the President's record when it comes to defending the sanctity of life. That is a very strong record. His views when it comes to pro-life issues are very clearly spelled out. We also have stated repeatedly that state legislatures, when they pass laws those are state matters.
Q: He disagrees with South Dakota on this one, though, doesn't he?
McClellan: Les, I've addressed the question.
Q: He does, on rape and incest.
McClellan: I've addressed the question.
That’s my story and I’m sticking with it. As McClellan would say, I’ve addressed the question.