In today’s gaggle Little Scottie has a senior moment.
MR. McCLELLAN: When we land in Louisville — both these events today, both these conversations on Social Security — conversations on strengthening Social Security today focus on really two generations. The theme is “seniors and seniors,” so at the conversations you’re going to have grandparents with their grandkids, who are seniors in college.
Q With the focus today on seniors, why do you think it is that —
MR. McCLELLAN: And what I was pointing out to you is that the process is still ongoing at this point.
Q Why do you think it is that so far, the President has been so uneffective at getting through to seniors with his message?
MR. McCLELLAN: I’m not sure that’s the case. It’s interesting, this morning, some of the members who attended the meeting talked about their town hall meetings, and some of them pointed out that seniors are starting to realize that this would have no impact on them. So the President — the President is still very early in his educational efforts and his outreach efforts to the American people. And when we go into communities and talk about it, I think seniors — once seniors realize that it doesn’t affect them, they believe it’s also important to act to help their children and grandchildren. They recognize that Social Security is an important safety net, but it has a hole in it. And we need to make sure that safety net is there for their children and grandchildren.
Q The polls seem to — the polls seem to suggest that most seniors are still really worried about it.
MR. McCLELLAN: I think a lot of seniors are concerned for their children and grandchildren, and they want to make sure that they have a secure retirement. And that’s one of the things the President will talk about. But we’re going to continue assuring seniors that nothing changes for them, because some — there are some people — there are scare ads that are out there trying to suggest to seniors that this is going to affect them. And I don’t think, in the end, seniors are going to be moved by such scare tactics.
Back to the gaggle, where Little Scottie shovels some Hezbollah-shit.
Q Can you talk about this — these conversations with France and others about allowing Hezbollah into the —
MR. McCLELLAN: I don’t know what you’re talking about. I mean, our view on Hezbollah has not changed. What our goal is, which is shared by the international community, is to see Syria get out of Lebanon, which is called for in Security Council Resolution 1559. We want to see free and fair elections, without outside intimidation and outside interference. And we want all Lebanese people, from all walks of life, to participate in those elections. And I think that experience shows that when people are able to choose their leaders, they choose people who are committed to improving their lives, not terrorists. And I think experience has shown that.
But our view on Hezbollah has not changed. Our focus remains on working with the international community to make sure that Syria gets out of Lebanon, so that the parliamentary elections in May can proceed forward in a free and fair way.
Q Let me try it a different way. Is it just reality — the administration realizes that if you have free and open elections, that Hezbollah, in addition to being what you consider it to be, also has significant political standing and organizational strength within Lebanon, and would be a factor in those elections.
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, again, this is not about Hezbollah, this is about ensuring that the Lebanese people have free and fair elections. And in terms of 1559, it also calls for the disarming of militias. I mean, that’s spelled out in 1559. But that’s why free and fair elections are so important, because when you have free and fair elections, you see the power of democracy. People will step forward and choose leaders committed to improving their lives. And experience shows us that. We see that in elections all across the world.
[And later in the gaggle… ]
Q On the Hezbollah story, are you basically denying the report in The New York Times about —
MR. McCLELLAN: The report suggests that our view has changed on Hezbollah, and it has not. Yes — that’s what I’m —
Q So you’re denying it?
MR. McCLELLAN: It’s wrong — yes.
Hmmmm. Let’s see what the administration official quoted by The Times said.
“Hezbollah has American blood on its hands,” an administration official said, referring to such events as the truck bombing that killed more than 200 American marines in Beirut in 1983. “They are in the same category as Al Qaeda. The administration has an absolute aversion to admitting that Hezbollah has a role to play in Lebanon, but that is the path we’re going down.”
Looks to me like Scottie’s remarks are evidence of the Bush assministration’s “absolute aversion to admitting that Hezbollah has a role to play in Lebanon”.