I think I may be experiencing Les Kinsolving withdrawl, as I have not found his questions in the gaggle for several days now.
Oh, well, let’s get on with today’s obsession and the needling of Little Scottie.
Q The President made a point of saying that Judge Chertoff has been confirmed three times. Why did he make that point?
MR. McCLELLAN: He’s someone who, like I said, enjoys wide respect from Democrats and Republicans alike, particularly on the Hill. He is someone who has a lot of experience and brings a lot of talent to this position. And that’s why the President talked about it.
Q Did it have anything to do with the flameout of his last nominee?
MR. McCLELLAN: That issue is behind us. The President is moving forward on this new nominee. He is someone who was on the list previously that we were looking at. However, he has only been serving as a judge for the past couple of years, and I think the presumption here at the White House was that he wanted to continue serving in that position. We found out since that he was interested in taking over this critical post, and we’re pleased that he agreed to accept this nomination.
Ooo, that was fun! Let’s see, what else can we ask about that will get a rise out of our dear Scottie?
I know, how about payola for journalists?
Q Is the White House or the President aware of the fact that Allawi’s political party is paying journalists over there?
MR. McCLELLAN: I’m sorry?
Q Paying journalists?
MR. McCLELLAN: I saw a report on that, but I haven’t seen any response from Prime Minister Allawi, so I’d like to hear more about the other side of that and whether or not that is an accurate account.
Q It says on the front page of the Financial —
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, Russell, I just said, I read the report, and I’d like to hear more from Prime Minister Allawi and see what they say in response to that. I like to check my sources before I comment on it.
Q If I could follow up, Scott, he was handing —
MR. McCLELLAN: No, you can’t. Go ahead, Greg. I’ll come back to you later.
Oh, you can almost hear Scottie stamp his little feet in frustration, can’t you? Let’s go for the trifecta and call his boss’ “outreach” on Social Security the lie that it is.
Q In your opening remarks you talked about outreach and public discussion. How come the first — the kickoff for your big campaign to make it a crisis — that’s a scare tactic — you had no opposition voices? You only staged a situation where everybody supported the President. That’s not a public discussion. That’s not outreach.
MR. McCLELLAN: There is plenty of public discussion going on this — going on right now on this issue.
Q Well, is the White House going to promote a real debate on this?
MR. McCLELLAN: The President welcomes the debate about the problem facing Social Security. He wants to move forward on that discussion. And what the President did today was talk with generations of family members to highlight the problem facing Social Security. If others want to go out there and say that it’s not a problem —
Q Don’t call it outreach then —
Ha! That press corps is getting fiestier by the day.