In today’s gaggle Les Kinsolving is worried about Target’s ban on bellringers:
Q Scott, the Target Corporation of Minneapolis has barred the Salvation Army’s Christmas bell ringers from the area of its 1,272 stores. That’s cost the Salvation Army almost $9 million. And my first question, does the President have no concern about this at all?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think the President has talked about his views when it comes to faith-based organizations, and their ability to retain their identity as they help people. But in terms of this specific issue, I don’t know the familiars of this specific issue, Les. I’m sorry, I don’t set the policies for Target. And it’s certainly a private company.
While Helen Thomas is concerned about U.S. soldiers torturing detainees in Iraq and Cuba (but in Scottie’s world if a member of the press corps did not actually witness the abuse then it did not happen):
MR. McCLELLAN: Helen, go ahead.
Q Has the President given any orders to stop the ongoing brutalization of Iraqi prisoners?
MR. McCLELLAN: Ongoing? If you have something, you ought to let —
Q Even after Abu Ghraib and the terrible shame that it brought to us, this still goes on.
MR. McCLELLAN: If you have something, you ought to take it to the attention of the Department of Defense.
Q I personally don’t. I’ve been reading in the papers recently, several days, that this is going on.
MR. McCLELLAN: The President expects allegations of this nature, which are serious allegations, to be fully investigated. He expects the Department of Defense to get to the bottom of any allegations that are made, to hold people responsible for wrongdoing if there is wrongdoing, and to take corrective action where appropriate. The Department of Defense has a number of ongoing investigations. These are issues that they take very seriously. In terms of the policy, I think the President’s policy has been made very clear. We are a nation of laws and a nation of values, and we expect people to adhere to our values, as well as our laws.
Q You don’t adhere to the Geneva Conventions. How can they know —
MR. McCLELLAN: Actually, in Iraq, the Geneva Convention does apply, and we do expect it to —
Q How about Guantanamo?
MR. McCLELLAN: — we do expect it to be adhered to.