Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

The “Do as I say, not as I do” president.

Q Scott, there’s been talk about the elections in Iraq. Let’s talk about elections here. The Congressional Black Caucus met with the President last week and they said that they asked the President — one congressman, in the last question to the President, asked him about the renewal of the portion of the Voting Rights Act that’s up in 2007. The President said, I don’t want to speak on that, because I don’t know that much about it at this time. The President was asked that in 2000 and he was asked that in this last meeting. And many of these people on the Congressional Black Caucus want to know where he stands as far as minorities and voting in this country, and is he for renewing that portion of the Voting Rights Act that’s up in 2007.

MR. McCLELLAN: The President is firmly committed to protecting the voting rights of all Americans. And it’s my understanding that what you’re referring to, when it comes to protecting minority voting rights, that section of the law — and that’s not up for re-authorization — those rights are going to be protected and continue. There is another section of the Voting Rights Act that is up for re-authorization, and that’s in 2006. I think it was a question asked at the very end of the Congressional Black Caucus meeting that the President held here in the Cabinet Room. He was pleased to have them come here and talk about ways we can work together, as well as to listen to some of the agenda items that are at the top of their list. They had a very good discussion. The President wants to continue to look for ways we can work together. And in terms of the re-authorization of that section of the Voting Rights Act, the President said that he would take a look at it and take into consideration the concerns tha

Q This is a two-fold question. One, the President brought together a group of people to study, to reform the elections process in this country. And some people are also saying it’s somewhat hypocritical — you’re talking about democracy in another country, and the success of elections there, but yet you have a faltered system here.

MR. McCLELLAN: We have a what system here?

Q Faltered system here, where minorities go to the polls, they’re intimidated, or votes have to be recounted and recounted, like in Ohio —

MR. McCLELLAN: I think our system is a model for democracy around the world. There are still ways we can — there are still steps we can take to improve our system, and the President has done that in certain ways, too.


Q Why has the President had so much to say about democracy and voting rights in Iraq and absolutely nothing to say about voting rights and democracy in the District of Columbia, the capital of the nation in which he serves as President? And isn’t it at least a contradiction, and at most, unbelievably hypocritical, that he’s for democracy in Iraq but he is not for democracy right here in the nation’s capital?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think his views have been well known on the District of Columbia. And I think he’s stated the reasons why the District was created, and his views are well known. There’s nothing to really add to it.

Q If I could follow up. So the President is for the residents of Baghdad to have representation in their national assembly, but the residents of the nation’s capital not to have representation in our national —

MR. McCLELLAN: His views are well known and, no, I don’t draw the same contrast that you are trying to draw.

Q Why don’t you draw — what’s the difference?

MR. McCLELLAN: I’ve stated our reasons on Iraq, and I’ve stated — and the President has stated his reasons on the District of Columbia. And there’s nothing to add to it.