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  #1  
Old 10-31-2005, 05:02 PM
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White House Press Secretary, Scott McClellan, might have been well advised to watch last Sunday's "West Wing" episode, particularly the scenes where the new WH Communications Director for Pres. Bartlett, Will Bailey, has to field (or duck) press questions regarding the leak of national security secrets to the press.

From nearly the start of todays WH news briefing, McClellan was inundated with questions about . . .

Q: Scott, a couple of years ago, you told us that Scooter Libby and Karl Rove had nothing to do with the CIA leak. It appears that you may have gotten bad information before you made that statement. Now, today, we learn through extrapolation that when the Vice President said in September of 2003 that he didn't know who sent Joe Wilson to Niger to investigate the claims that Iraq was trying to buy yellow cake, that he was not speaking the truth. My question is: Can we be confident that when we hear statements from the White House in public that they are truthful?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think you can because you know that our relationship is built on trust, and I have earned that trust with you all. As you pointed out, you pointed back to some past comments that I gave and I've talked to you about the assurances that I received on that.

In terms of the investigation, it is an ongoing investigation. The policy of this White House has been to carry out the direction of the President, which is to cooperate fully with the special prosecutor. That means not commenting on it publicly from here at the White House. There is a lot of speculation that is going on right now. There are many facts that are not known. The work of the special prosecutor continues, and we look forward to him successfully concluding his investigation.

Q: But in terms of public trust, if it is true that Scooter Libby learned of Valerie Plame's identity from Vice President Cheney in June of 2003, would that not mean then that the Vice President made a false statement three months later when he said he didn't know who sent Wilson to Niger?

MR. McCLELLAN: I appreciate that. A couple of things. One, the question you bring up is relating to a matter that is under investigation. And secondly, as I pointed out, there is a great deal of speculation that is going on right now, and I would urge you not to engage in that speculation. But certainly, you are pursuing this story as you should. We will wait to see what the special prosecutor does and learn more about the facts at that point.

Q: Are you not commenting on whether this report is accurate or not? Will you comment?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I'm not going to comment because it's relating to an ongoing investigation; the story that you're referencing relates to an ongoing investigation.

Q: Given the fact that the Vice President did say publicly in September of 2003 that he never knew about Joe Wilson or who sent him, as John points out, and now there appears to be information to contradict that, how do you explain that contradiction?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, there's an ongoing investigation. There are many facts that are not known. I would encourage you not to engage in speculation. And on top of that, if there's any additional information that the Vice President's Office wants to provide you, you can direct questions there. But the policy of this White House has been not to comment on this investigation while it's ongoing. And it has been that way for some time.

Q: Does that mean that if you had information that could help clear this up and perhaps make it look like something other than what it is, which is a contradiction, would you provide that, or would you hold that just because you don't want to --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I said -- I mean, if you want to ask any more from the Vice President's Office, you're welcome to do that, but --

Q: Have you done that?

MR. McCLELLAN: -- our policy has been that this is an ongoing investigation, we're not going to comment on it. The special prosecutor is the one that has been gathering the facts related to it. But just because I'm not commenting on it doesn't mean you should read anything into that one way or the other.

Q: Have you attempted to clarify it with the Vice President's Office?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, this is an ongoing investigation, and what the President directed us to do was to cooperate fully with the special prosecutor. And so, as part of doing that, we've been carrying out the President's direction from the White House. That means -- we're not doing that ourselves, the special prosecutor is doing that.

Q: So that's, no, you have not sought clarification?

MR. McCLELLAN: So, no -- no.

Q: Does the Vice President always tell the truth to the American people?

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes.

Q: The President then stands by the Vice President's account in September of --

MR. McCLELLAN: I think it's a -- frankly, I think it's a ridiculous question, Terry, because --

Q: Well, no, we now have reports that there are documents that directly contradict the public statement of the Vice President of the United States.

MR. McCLELLAN: Reports. The Vice President, like the President, is a straightforward, plainspoken person.


**

Q: Can you give us -- I have to ask -- do you know if the Vice President talked to the President about Plame, or if the President may have talked to Tenet, himself, about Plame?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I appreciate the question, and it's relating to an ongoing investigation. You need to direct questions to the special prosecutor.

Q: But can you clear this up, though? You said that the Vice President always was truthful with the American people; yet here we have the appearance of an untruthful statement, based on this reported memo.

MR. McCLELLAN: I think it's a ridiculous suggestion in the first place, John. That's what I was responding to.

Q: Okay. Going back to John's question about truthfulness, you replied our relationship is based on trust and we all think that you are truthful to us. So in light of that, if we go back to that October 2003 question, in reply to which you said that you'd spoken with Scooter Libby and Karl Rove and they'd assured you that they were not involved in this, aren't you sort of mad as all get out that you were set up, hung out to dry?

MR. McCLELLAN: I appreciate the question. It's another question relating to an ongoing investigation. Again, there is a lot of speculation. There are many facts that simply are not known at this point to the larger public -- they're facts that the President doesn't know, they're facts that I don't know. The special prosecutor is continuing to move forward on this investigation; let's let him do his work.

Q: She asked you, aren't you unhappy that you had to come out and tell us that.

MR. McCLELLAN: She was asking me a question about an ongoing investigation and --

Q: Those are facts you would know.

MR. McCLELLAN: I appreciate the relationship that you and I have in this room --

Q: Well, we want your credibility to be intact.

MR. McCLELLAN: And I think it is.

**

Q: Scott, just to try to put a finer point on it, is what you were trying to signal in a couple of your earlier responses is that, perhaps, your -- as you wait to see where this CIA leak investigation is going -- are you waiting to see if you were dealt with truthfully?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I'm just saying what I said earlier. There are a lot of facts that I don't know, and the special prosecutor is looking into all these matters. There are facts the President does not know. And let's let him complete his work.

Q: So at this point, you can tell us that you don't know for a fact that you were dealt with truthfully when you came out here in October?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm just not going to comment any further, thanks.
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  #2  
Old 10-31-2005, 05:50 PM
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The classic line from Will Bailey after he reads a statement on some economic initiative.

"OK, I'll duck your questions now."

I cracked up.
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Old 10-31-2005, 05:57 PM
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I am more thatn a little pissed that the feed here, which comes from buffalo, was pre-empted because of the sorry Bills. Now I have to try to find it online. Grrrrrr.
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Old 11-01-2005, 01:24 PM
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The best "line" about the Plame-gate developments had to be from Jon Stewart last night.

"If only lies left a semen stain . . ."
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Old 11-01-2005, 01:28 PM
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I wonder how long and hard they had to look to come up with someone as weasely as Scott McClellan. They guy's body language is atrocious. That scared desperate look he gets in his eyes is just too telling.

This crowd is beyond belief. Literally.
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Old 11-01-2005, 01:29 PM
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Old 11-02-2005, 04:59 AM
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Have to give him credit though . . . at least he didn't come out and directly state we are basically too neurologically challenged to understand such a complex set of issues as they have to deal with. I mean, gee whiz, sometimes you have to distort the truth to save the minions.
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