Scenes from a Press Conference

From Holden:

Ah, I finally got my hands on the transcript from this morning’s press conference. Before we get to the lowlights, let’s have some word count fun. Everyone and their cat counted the number of times Chimpy slurred the words “freedom” and “liberty” last week, so what was he up to today?

Freedom – 16

Liberty – 7

By far his most overused word today was forward, as in “moving forward” or “looking forward”.

Forward – 36

Now, on to the lowlights.

President Deer-In-The-Headlights chastises the press.

If we’d been having this discussion a couple of years ago and I’d have stood up in front of you and said the Iraqi people would be voting, you would look at me like some of you still look at me, with a kind of blank expression.

A gift for understatement.

And it’s exciting times for the Iraqi people.

Dodging the L-Word.

Q Mr. President, in the debate over Dr. Rice’s confirmation, Democrats came right out and accused you and the administration of lying in the run-up to the war in Iraq. Republicans, in some cases, conceded that mistakes have been made. Now that the election is over, are you willing to concede that any mistakes were made? And how do you feel about —

THE PRESIDENT: Let me talk about Dr. Rice — you asked about her confirmation. Dr. Rice is an honorable, fine public servant who needs to be confirmed. She will be a great Secretary of State. And Dr. Rice and I look forward to moving forward. We look forward to working to make sure the Iraqis have got a democracy. We look forward to continuing to make sure Afghanistan is as secure as possible from potential Taliban resurgence. We look forward to spreading freedom around the world. And she is going to make a wonderful Secretary of State.

Q No reaction to the lying? No reaction? (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Is that your question? The answer is, no. Next.

Brain Hurts!

[W]e have presented a plan in the past, and we’ll present one here next — earlier — later on this — in February, that will show we will cut the deficit in half.

Math is hard.

And here’s the problem: the — as dictated by just math, there is — the system will be in the red in 13 years, and in 2042 the system will be broke. That’s because people are living longer, and the number of people paying into the Social Security trust is dwindling. And so, therefore, if you have a child — how old is your child, Carl?

Q Fourteen years old.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, 14. Well, if she were —

Q He, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: He, excuse me. (Laughter.) I should have done the background check. (Laughter.) She will — when she gets ready to — when she’s 50, the system will be broke, if my math is correct. In other words, if you have a child who is 25 years old, when that person gets — gets near retirement, the system will be bankrupt.

No, really. My brain hurts!

I will begin — begin — I will continue that process with the State of the Union address.

Setting Putie-poot straight.

Vladimir Putin — I have discussed with Vladimir Putin some of his decisions. I will continue — as you might remember in our meeting in Chile. I will continue to do so. I will remind him that if he intends to continue to look West, we in the West believe in Western values.

How to look like a fool and insult senior citizens in one easy lesson.

Q I seem to remember a time in Texas on another problem, taxes, where you tried to get out in front and tell people it’s not a crisis now, it’s going to be a crisis down the line — you went down in flames on that one. Why —

THE PRESIDENT: Actually, I — if I might. (Laughter.) I don’t think a billion-dollar tax relief that permanently reduced property taxes on senior citizens was “flames,” but since you weren’t a senior citizen, perhaps that’s your definition of “flames.”

Q I never got my billion —

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Because you’re not a senior citizen yet. Acting like one, however. Go ahead. (Laughter.)

Just wait until Sunday.

Q Mr. President, Senator Ted Kennedy recently repeated his characterization of Iraq as a “quagmire” and has called it your Vietnam. And the questioning of Alberto Gonzales and Condi Rice in the Senate has been largely used by Democrats to criticize your entire Iraq program, especially what you’re trying to do postwar. I wonder if you have any response to those criticisms. And what kind of an effect do you think these statements have on the morale of our troops and on the confidence of the Iraqi people that what you’re trying to do over there is going to succeed?

THE PRESIDENT: I think the Iraqi people are wondering whether or not this nation has the will necessary to stand with them as a democracy evolves. The enemy would like nothing more than the United States to precipitously pull out and withdraw before the Iraqis are prepared to defend themselves.

[snip]

And so I — the notion that somehow we’re not making progress I just don’t subscribe to. I mean, we’re having elections.