Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Little Scottie Stonewall

Tuesdays Whitehouse press briefing was a barn burner! Required viewing for all politicos. The reporters peppered McClellan on the domestic spying issue. He did his best to stonewall but there was nowhere to hide in this feeding frenzy. Here are a couple of highlights:

Q But is it a tool that he doesn't have under either the Patriot Act or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I just pointed out one of the problem areas that we're trying to fix. And so those --

Q Okay, if it is a problem area -- is it a tool he doesn't have under either the Patriot Act of FISA?

MR. McCLELLAN: Those are important tools, as well, and we use those tools. In fact, those tools have helped us address threats, too. But this authorization is an additional tool that we believe is needed for the reason I stated.

Q I know, but you could have three different types of branches, but if two branches do the job of all three, do you need to have the third?
The follow-up questions came rapid fire forcing Scottie to finally turn to my favorite administration phrase of last resort. It would have made a great drinking game back in my college days. When it is obvious that they have been nailed with an informed, insightful question – they indignantly reply “I reject your characterization”!
Q Do you think we're spreading democracy when you spy and put out disinformation and do all the things that -- secret prisons, and torture?

MR. McCLELLAN: I reject your characterizations wholly. I reject your characterizations wholly. The United States is helping to advance freedom in a dangerous region of the world.

Woohoo 2 drinks!

Finally at the end of the press conference just when Scottie thought he had weathered the storm a reporter asked about Bush’s reported Oval Office meeting with two New York Times editors prior to the publishing of the wiretapping story:

Q Did the President meet The New York Times editor on December 6th and ask him to not publish the eavesdropping story?

MR. McCLELLAN: I saw reports about that; I'm not going to get into discussing it, though.

Q No confirm, no deny?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, neither.

No rejected characterization there. Scottie obviously wasn’t prepared for this one and stumbled trying to come up the right words.

How much do you want to bet he found a few choice words in the hallway afterwards?


  1. Bush loves to use a variation of that line too. But first he starts by saying, "I appreciate that." Then he launches into all the reasons why he "rejects that characterization."

    I wonder if he gets to take a drink for every time he says it!

  2. Dam that is a good line. I wish I had thought of that. I actually had intended to add several examples of Bush's use of the same tactic but I couldn't bring myself to wade through press conferences tonight.

  3. Only the well and truly indoctrinated can translate White House obfuscation into a coherence susceptible to belief. The rest of us, after the first ten or so words, hear only "blah, blah, blah, blah" -- I find myself tilting my head quizzically to stare at the TV in the same fashion my Aussie cattle dog does with me when I read sections of Immanuel Kant aloud to her. This administration is a failure at making public policy, but they DO know how to market: repetition -- often incoherent, frequently untruthful or distorted, sometimes both, but mostly, over, and over, and over.

  4. Lost Wages Joe10:03 AM

    All that talk of "tools"... I think Little Scottie is the real tool. But then, so's his boss.

  5. Yeah, I watched that one, too. I'v become addicted to these things although I rarely read the McClellan answers. He doesn't say anything, so I tend to just read the questions.


  6. It's sad the the questions are always more insightful than the answers.

  7. Listening to McClellan answer questions gives me a headache. Not just what he says, but that there are people in this country nodding there heads in agreement.