Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

We have a damn shoddy press corps, no doubt. The only question about the flu vaccine crisis dealt with whether or not the president thought it was appropriate for members of congress to get the shot. Nothing touching on the administration’s failure to maintain a safe, adequate supply of vaccine.

Also, no questions today about Pat Robertson stating that Bush said there would be no US casualties in Iraq, nor any mention of the CIA withholding a report said to afix blame for Sep. 11th squarely on senior administration officials.

Sigh. What are the gaggle-obsessed to do?

Oh, well, here’s Scottie today on lousy intelligence:

Q There’s a report in the New York Times today that not only did the President get bad intelligence about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but that U.S. troops got bad intelligence from the CIA about where they would face the fiercest battles, such as in Nasaryah, where we have suffered heavy casualties. Does the President believe that bad intelligence also cost lives in the war?

MR. McCLELLAN: What’s important is that we succeed in Iraq. And the President has a strategy for success in Iraq, because Iraq is a central part of winning the war on terrorism. And when we succeed in Iraq, it will be a decisive blow to the terrorists and their ambitions. Any time you face a situation where you go to war, like we did in Iraq, it’s important that you be able to adapt and adjust to circumstances on the ground. And that’s what we have done in Iraq.

One of the important lessons of history is that it’s important to look to your commanders on the ground and your military leaders to make determinations about what is needed to defeat the enemy. And that’s what this President has done and will continue to do. And we will make sure that they — we will make sure that they have all the resources they need to complete the mission.

Q What about the bad intelligence —

MR. McCLELLAN: There are things — again, that’s — you’re making intelligence judgments based on what you know at the time. But Iraq was a closed society.

Q The CIA has said that —

MR. McCLELLAN: When you go into a military conflict, you have to have some flexibility and be able to adjust and adapt to the circumstances. But what we are working to do is complete the mission. We are moving forward on — in partnering with the interim government in Iraq and the Iraqi people to help them realize a free and peaceful future. And that’s where the focus ought to be. Senator Kerry has a strategy that is based on protest and retreat, a strategy that will lead to defeat in Iraq. The President has a strategy for winning in Iraq.

That was it for that topic. Scottie can say, “it’s important to look to your commanders on the ground and your military leaders to make determinations about what is needed to defeat the enemy” and expect no follow-up referring to Gen. Sanchez’ letter requesting equipment and supplies, or the Army Reserve unit that mutinied beause they were not adequately equipped.

Where’s Helen Thomas when you need her?

One reporter pressed the cherubic Scottie today on Condi’s unprecedented electioneering, but in the grand scheme of things that’s not much of an issue.

Q There was a — this story in The Washington Post, I believe, about Condi Rice doing a whole series of speeches in key battleground states. Is it the White House —

MR. McCLELLAN: Grabbing for headlines now.

Q It’s unprecedented for a National Security Advisor.

MR. McCLELLAN: Dr. Rice is the President’s National Security Advisor. She has given speeches across the country when she’s been invited to places. And I — the American people are very focused on our highest national security priorities in support of — that she continued to be accessible to the American people to talk about those priorities. That’s what she’s doing.

Q Very — are you saying her speeches are unrelated to the campaign?

MR. McCLELLAN: She accepted are — the speeches that she has given are engagements that she was invited to attend.

Afterall, we know why Georgie does not want to leave Condi alone back in Washington, don’t we?