Let’s start with a gaggle question that has also been on my mind today.
Q Scott, a month ago, Chairman Greenspan urged a go-slow approach on Social Security reform. Today he stressed the urgency of it. What changed?
And follow that with opposing views of the differences between Frist! and the Chimpenator.
Q The President is saying it [the destruction of Social Security] must get passed this year. Frist said, in terms of whether it will be a week, a month, six months, or a year, it’s just too early to tell. It sounds to me like that’s a little bit more equivocation than the President would like to hear.
MR. McCLELLAN: He said what we’ve said. We’re very early in the process right now. That’s why I said we’re really just now beginning to step up our efforts.
Q But he said he wants it this year. He said he wants it this year, and he’s not getting that level of commitment yet, is he, from Republican leaders?
MR. McCLELLAN: Okay, let me finish what I’m trying to tell you, because —
Q All right, but let’s be responsive. [My snark-o-meter just hit 8!]
MR. McCLELLAN: — time and time again, the naysayers in Washington have said that we cannot get it done. Time and time again, this President has led, the Congress has acted, and we have gotten it done. We saw that in the first term when we passed historic education reforms. We saw it in the first term when we passed the first improvements and reforms to Medicare in its history to give seniors prescription drug coverage. We saw it in the first term when the President was able to pass tax cuts for all the American people and to get the economy growing and creating jobs. And now we’ve seen the result of the action that the President has taken. So we —
Q Senator Frist is a naysayer at this point, your leader in the Senate?
MR. McCLELLAN: No.
Q Well, he’s —
MR. McCLELLAN: You seem to be, though.
Q I’m not anything. I’m just quoting to you what the leaders say. They’re the ones who matter here, not me.
Very nicely done.
Now, usually when Scottie says, “Go ahead, Goyal.”, I heave a small mental sigh. But not today.
Today I say, Go Ahead Goy-al!
MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead, Goyal.
Q I have two questions.
[His first question was about Ari’s book if it’s really important to you.]
Q Second question, Osama bin Laden is still sending messages in the Middle East and calling on his terrorist movement to go beyond Middle East to attack Americans or people who are supporting the United States. Where he is now? I mean, where he is sending all these messages from?
MR. McCLELLAN: Osama bin Laden? We continue to pursue him and other members of the al Qaeda network to bring them to justice for the crimes that they have committed against humanity and for the attacks that they are responsible for against the American people. They will be brought to justice. We have made great progress in dismantling the al Qaeda network, but the war on terrorism continues. We have brought to justice in one way or another many of the al Qaeda leadership. And we continue to pursue others. Ultimately, we need to work to spread freedom and democracy to defeat the ideology that leads to terrorism.
Where is Osama, Scottie? I would love to hear that question repeated daily.