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?