Today Little Scottie was asked about a new coalition forming in Iraq: the Coalition of the Wobbly.
Q Is there any concern here that the Allawi government may be preparing to move to delay the Iraqi election?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, in fact, in their phone call, they talked about the importance of moving forward on the timetable that was set out by the Independent Iraqi Election Commission. So I haven’t heard anything of that nature. We fully support the Independent Iraqi Election Commission timetable of January 30th for holding those elections. It’s important that we continue to move forward on all fronts to help the Iraqi people realize a better future; a future that stands in stark contrast to the one of the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein. There is a clear choice facing the Iraqi people, facing the region and facing the international community. We can stand on the side of democracy and freedom and peace, or we can stand on the side of terrorists and tyranny and oppression.
Q There are reports that some people in Iraq are getting a little wobbly about that election date.
MR. McCLELLAN: I’ve seen some of those reports, just like you have. We remain firmly supportive of the Independent Iraqi Election Commission and their timetable of January 30th. They are moving forward on registering Iraqis. They’re moving forward on reaching out to areas where there’s a heavy population of Sunnis to encourage as broad a participation in that segment of society, as well. We want to see all parts of Iraq participate to the fullest extent possible in these elections.
Here’s an update on the Coalition of the Wobbly, I may have to send it along to Scottie as well.
With unceasing violence in Iraq, an increasing number of Iraqi interim government officials are calling for the postponement of Jan. 30 elections to ensure a higher Sunni voter turnout. And on Tuesday, the interim prime minister [Holden Note: MSNBC has it wrong here, it’s Iraq’s Interim President who has officially joined the Coalition of the Wobbly, not the Interim PM.] urged the United Nations to assess the feasibility of the elections, an indication of how deeply insurgent attacks have shaken the resolve behind the polls. The country’s electoral commission, and the United States, insist that voting take place as scheduled.
“Definitely the United Nations, as an independent umbrella of legitimacy … should really take the responsibility by seeing whether that (timing) is possible or not,” said interim Prime Minister [sic] Ghazi al-Yawar in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday.
Yawar, whose post is largely ceremonial, said the elections would fail if a raging insurgency kept a significant number of Iraqis away from voting stations.
Defense Minister Hazem Shaalan told reporters in Cairo on Monday that he has asked Egypt to try to persuade the Sunnis to participate in the elections. “And if they agreed, then we could postpone the date to let all Iraqis go to the polls in one day,” he said.
Iraq’s ambassador to the United Nations last week suggested the election could be delayed by two or three weeks. In an opinion piece in The Washington Post, Samir al-Sumaidaie proposed that idea and a host of others, including reserving some seats for groups who do poorly if their supporters don’t vote — a clear reference to the Sunnis.
So for those of you taking notes, that’s Iraq’s Interim President, Defense Minister, and UN Ambassador who have joined the Coalition of the Wobbly along with nearly every Sunni politician in Iraq.
And now, back to your regularly scheduled Obsession. Your preznit is digging deep into his own pockets to help tsunami victims… or he will be soon, promise.
Q Has the President given?
MR. McCLELLAN: He’s in the process of doing that. I, hopefully, we’ll have more to report on that tomorrow, if not later today. But he is in the process of doing that and looking at organizations that he will be sending money to in the region.
Q He’s just trying to figure out who he’s going to give to and what —
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, I think you can expect he will make a significant contribution, himself.
Gee, it didn’t take Sandra Bullock [alternative Sandra Bullock link here – sometimes bitching pays off] too long to figure out how much she wanted to give and to whom she would give it. Wonder what’s taking the preznit so long?
And finally in today’s gaggle, Little Scottie explains that anyone who opposes Alberto Gonzales’ nomination as Attorney General is actually a pawn of the Kerry Campaign.
Q There was a series of flag-grade officers, over a dozen of them today, who issued a statement calling on the White House to release documents regarding the decisions that Mr. Gonzales has made in his role as legal counsel of the President, especially with regard to the detainees and to the period going into the Iraq war. Is the White House willing to release these documents to give the Senate the ability to judge Mr. Gonzales’ attitude towards the law, toward a constitution, and towards —
MR. McCLELLAN: First of all, I saw a number of these individuals are people that supported the campaign of the President’s opponent. So let’s keep that in mind when we’re talking about these individuals. Secondly, a number of the documents that I think you might be referring to have been made available publicly. In fact, Judge Gonzales participated in a briefing with Department of Defense officials to talk about some of those very documents I think you’re referring to. And we’ve also responded to some inquiries from the Senate Judiciary Committee, as well. And Judge Gonzales looks forward to going before the committee later this week and participating in his hearing. And we hope Congress — we hope the Senate will move forward quickly on his nomination. He is someone who has done an outstanding job for the President here as White House Counsel, and we know he will make a great Attorney General. And so we hope Congress will move forward quickly on that nomination.
Q Why aren’t all the documents being released —
MR. McCLELLAN: I’m not sure what you’re specifically referring to. We can talk about it more later. But as I said, a number of the documents that I think you’re referring to have been released. And in terms of the policy by the President, the policy that the President set, which Judge Gonzales is responsible for making sure is followed, was very clear. We adhere to our laws and our treaty obligations. That’s the policy of the United States government, and that’s what we expect to be followed.