Here is a series of questions and answers I like to call Condipalooza.
We’ll start with a damn good question:
Q In Congress, there are Democrats who want to use this confirmation hearing for Dr. Rice to go over her role in the prewar intelligence controversy in Iraq, in particular her repeated claim that the aluminum tubes that had been shipped to Iraq were for the purpose of enriching uranium for a nuclear weapons program, when it came out later there was information available to her that that was not true. What should the American people make as they watch what’s going to be, at times, a contentious confirmation?
Lord, I hope one of our gang can come up with the balls to ask such a basic question.
Next up in yesterday’s Condipalooza line-up, Little Scottie wants us to forget the first term:
Q You know, Scott, the President seemed to acknowledge the fact that there were — there was discord on his foreign policy team, even at the most recent press conference, when he said, there’s a lot of different opinions, a lot of strong personalities.
I wonder, in his selections now, does he believe that it would behoove him to have less discord, less disagreement about the approach to foreign policy?
MR. McCLELLAN: I don’t think he looks at it that way. I think that you mentioned strong personalities. That shows the kind of team that the President put together. The President has always been someone — I’ve worked for him for now some six years, going back to his days as governor of Texas — he has always been someone who has worked to surround himself with a very strong team of people who will offer him a wide range of views on various policy matters. That’s the way this President has always operated. He believes that that’s a healthy part of the decision-making process.
Q What evidence is there to suggest that there’s going to be that wide array of views when the one who represented most of the dissent is now gone?
MR. McCLELLAN: Oh, I think that — one, I think that that’s somewhat misguided, to say that, “the one who represented different views.” There are many members of the President’s Cabinet —
Q Should we go through the list of who thought what, and who agreed —
MR. McCLELLAN: — and there are many members of the national security team and they all have viewpoints. Sometimes they share views on certain issues, sometimes they disagree on certain issues. And —
Q Scott, you’re expecting the American people to shut their eyes and forget the past four years, where Colin Powell was at odds with Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney? This is part of history now.
MR. McCLELLAN: They each have unique roles, and you’re going to have people in these positions, some of which you mentioned, who bring their own, unique style to the position and their own unique views and perspectives and experiences to that position. The President will continue to receive a wide range of views with his new Cabinet in place.
As Condipalooza continues, sure she’s going to be our next Secretary of State – but that doesn’t mean she’s going to do any of that diplomacy stuff:
Q Yes, two questions, Scott. The first one, the President is traveling this weekend to Chile to APEC meeting, then a statement, then a stopover in Colombia. Will both Secretary of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice be on this trip with the President?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think Secretary Powell is headed there ahead of us. And I think we’ll probably have more, in terms of the briefing, on this tomorrow. I’ll try to give you a little bit more information. Obviously, we’ll be working on two important areas: the security and economic front will be the priorities on this agenda. But the President looks forward to attending —
Q But, I mean, will both of them go on —
MR. McCLELLAN: Let me double-check. I’m not sure that Dr. Rice is going to be on this trip.
Condipalooza closes with a small title faux pas, dilligently corrected by the White House transcription gnomes:
Q Scott, the President said today that he wants Mrs. [sic] Rice to continue in foreign policy to confront outlaw regimes. My question to you is, does the President have more confidence in her than in Colin Powell to build up support at the United Nations to confront these outlaw regimes —