You get two choices with Little Scottie today: Hypocrisy or Ignorance.
First, the Hypocrisy: Freedom’s March Edition.
Q Scott, today’s speech had a little bit of a feel of a victory lap for the President. Does he believe that this administration’s policies have ushered in this new wave of freedom in the Middle East? Or does he think there are other factors?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, freedom and democracy advancing in the broader Middle East region is a victory for the people in the region. It’s the people who deserve the credit for stepping forward to realize greater freedom. Freedom is on the march in the region. The President talked about that. We’re seeing remarkable developments take place in the region. And it’s because of the people in the region, because all people aspire to live in freedom. That’s a belief the President holds very strongly, and it’s a belief that we’re seeing proven true because of the people in the region who are stepping forward to insist on democracy and freedom, to insist on more control over their own future.
Q I’m sorry, then why did we have to go to war in Iraq, then, if they were going to take care of this themselves?
Next, Hypocrisy: Chinese Edition.
Q Scott, would people in Taiwan who are for independence be fair in regarding President Bush’s policies on freedom as hypocritical, because he doesn’t support Taiwan’s independence?
MR. McCLELLAN: We’ve always been supportive of what I spelled out, and that’s — that the Taiwan Relations Act — that’s any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by anything other than peaceful means.
Q One more on Taiwan. When you were calling on the Chinese to be restrained on their actions, would you also state clearly that you do or do not support Taiwan to declare independence, though?
MR. McCLELLAN: That’s why I said that we — what we support is no unilateral change in the status quo. That’s what our view is, and that remains our view.
Finally, Hypocrisy: RussianEdition.
Q On Russia. The Russians have just announced they have killed the secessionist leader, Aslan Maskhadov. First, do you have any independent confirmation of that?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, the last I heard before I came out here, I’d seen the reports, but I did not have any confirmation on those reports at this point. Our views, in terms of the situation, is that we believe it should be resolved through a political process, and that remains our view.
Q How can it be resolved in a political process if the leader of the secessionists have now been killed — has now been killed? And a number —
MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I’ve seen the reports. I don’t have confirmation on that. But we’ve consistently said that when it comes to Chechnya, that it needs to be — in this situation with Russia, that it needs to be resolved through a political process.
Q I don’t — I don’t see the logic there. Why is it different from capturing and killing terrorists in other countries? Why is it different from capturing Saddam Hussein in —
MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I mean, you’re talking about a specific report. I’ve not confirmed that report. I would want to find out more about the information on this particular report.
Now, here’s some Ignorance: Tax Cut Edition.
Q The President’s tax cut proposals appear to have gotten a haircut in the Senate Budget Committee today. The Republicans announcing a $70 billion plan, as opposed to what the White House asked for, $100 billion over the next five years. Is that a concern for the President?
MR. McCLELLAN: I haven’t seen the action — you’re talking, they’ve acted in the Senate Budget Committee today?
Q I believe that Senator Kyl announced a plan.
And finally, Ignorance: Homophobe Edition.
Q Employees of the Office of Special Counsel have filed a complaint against Scott Block, the Director of the OSC. President Bush has been cc’d on the complaint, and a letter has come to him about it. What is he going to do about this? And does he believe that the OSC is able to operate, do its work, in this environment?
MR. McCLELLAN: Haven’t seen the complaint, and I’ll be glad to take a look at it.