Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

Little Scottie takes his time in saying no:

Q Do you — does the President repudiate this 527 ad that calls Kerry a liar on Vietnam?

MR. McCLELLAN: The President deplores all the unregulated soft money activity.

[Scottie-speak edited in the interests of the health of your monitor.]

Q So the President joins McCain in criticizing this particular ad?

MR. McCLELLAN: We hope the Kerry campaign will join us in calling for an end to all the unregulated soft money ads and activity that are going on. Again, the President has been on the receiving end of more than $62 million in negative attacks from shadowy groups. And the President thought he got rid of this kind of activity when he signed the bipartisan campaign finance reforms into law. This campaign should be about the issues and it should be about the records.

Q Scott, more specifically, though, will the President or the campaign ask this particular group to pull this particular ad off the air?

MR. McCLELLAN: We’re calling for a cessation to all the unregulated soft money activity, and we hope that the Kerry campaign will join us.

Q Scott, during the primaries in 2000, or I guess during the Republican Presidential Primaries, an unregulated ad was run against John McCain. At the time, the governor said, “We don’t have anything to do with it.” Can you give us a sense of the evolution, what’s changed from, we don’t have anything to do with it, to, let’s all stop it.

MR. McCLELLAN: The President supported the bipartisan campaign finance reforms that were passed, and he felt that they improved the system. And that’s why he signed them into law. We should have a level playing field for candidates and parties. You have, right now, a problem with these unregulated soft money groups. These were loopholes that we thought were closed when the President signed the campaign finance reforms into law. And so the President believes that all the unregulated soft money activity should stop. We hope the Kerry campaign will join us in calling for an end to all this kind of activity.

The President knows what it’s like to be on the receiving end of more than $62 million in negative attacks from these kinds of shadowy groups.