Today’s gaggle centered on First Nanny Karen Hughes, shown here co-starring with Robin Williams and Glenn Close in The World According to Garp.
[Thanks to Tena via watertiger for the idea.]
Q Scott, the amount of attention that you’re paying on the Hughes announcement, and the fact that one of the most trusted advisors of the President has been nominated for the position, seems to be a pretty strong indication that you’re seeing some pretty troubling data out there. What are you seeing?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think Secretary Rice spoke to this earlier in her remarks. There is a lot of hate-filled propaganda that is aimed at the United States of America. We need to counter the myths that are spread and make sure that we are communicating the truth about the values that we stand for and the generosity and compassion of the American people. That’s important. [Yes, Scottie, but perhaps cutting down on the illegal invasions of sovereign nations who threaten no one would help, too.]
Q In terms of the Arab world, what is the issue out there that you think is the biggest influencing factor on Arabs’ perspective of the United States?
MR. McCLELLAN: [Scottie’s response to this follow-up mimicked his previous response nearly word-for-word. Look here if you doubt me.]
Q But, again, to the question that I asked, recent surveys conducted show that the Arab-Israeli issue remains the number one influencing factor of Arab perceptions of the United States. Would you agree with that?
MR. McCLELLAN: And this President has been at the forefront of leading the efforts to achieve the two-state vision that he outlined of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.
The United States is continuing to work closely with other countries and continuing to work closely with the parties involved to support their efforts.
Scottie is off his game today, evidenced by the fact that when he got in trouble trying to explain the appointment of someone with no diplomatic experience (hell, no foreign policy experience!) to an ambassadorship to handle a problem created by Dear Leader’s arrogance he made the mistake of calling on Helen Thomas.
Go ahead, Helen.
Q Diplomacy depends on policy. You can’t sell what is unsaleable. If the policy remains that we will engage further in preemptive war, you cannot sell it to the Middle East, I’m sure, or anywhere else. So are you going to change any policy?
MR. McCLELLAN: Our policy is to expand freedom and democracy and to support the aspirations of people —
Q By gunpoint?
MR. McCLELLAN: — and support the aspirations of people in countries around the world that do not have the freedoms that we enjoy. And, no, Helen, the President made it very clear in his inaugural address that it is not primarily the use of arms. It is supporting the aspirations of the people in those countries and doing all we can to stand with those people as they seek greater freedoms. We are standing with the people of Lebanon. We are standing with the people of the Palestinian Territories. We are standing with —
Q We also invaded Iraq.
MR. McCLELLAN: — we are standing with the people of Iraq, and the people of Iraq have shown that freedom is a universal value. They stood up and defied the terrorists and went to the polls.
Q And we invaded the country.
MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead, Terry.
Oh, he’s in deep now, where’s JimmJeff when you need him?
Q Secretary of State Rice said today that the time for reform of public diplomacy is now. Why wasn’t it two years ago, or three years ago?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think we did try to take steps to improve our public diplomacy. We created the Office of Global Communications. That was something that Karen was very involved in. Karen is someone who brings a lot of practical foreign policy experience to the table. She is someone who has traveled with the President extensively in the first term to foreign capitals. [More Scottie pap. Yadda-yadda, women of Afghanistan now free to shop from the Lane Bryant Extra-Big and Scary Catalog just like Karen…]
Q But I’m wondering about the two high-profile previous appointments the President made to this post, and the series of reports that came out from the Pentagon, from Congress, from think tanks, all calling on the administration to get on the stick, really, on this issue. And I’m wondering what happened.
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I don’t know —
No, Scottie doesn’t know, but here’s a reporter with a clue.
Q Some are saying instead of bringing Karen back for Social Security, which some are saying the President is viewing as a sinking ship, and taking her over to the State Department, is somewhat for legacy. Here you’re abandoning the Social Security issue, something that she knows, domestic policy, and her great leveraging efforts, and then putting her there. Talk to me about legacy as it relates to Karen, and Middle Eastern peace.
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, first of all, on Social Security, I have to dispute the characterization that was in your question. I strongly disagree with that characterization. The President is just now, and the administration is just now really stepping up our efforts to educate the American people about the problems facing Social Security and the need for a solution. He is just now really stepping up the efforts to reassure seniors that nothing changes when it comes to those who are retired or near retirement. So I would dispute that characterization.
Yep, that’s it. Georgie wanted to make the destruction of Social Security his legacy, but that’s not working out as planned so he’s calling on the Mother of All Legacies to salvage world opinion of his foreign policy. Somehow I think even Momma Karen’s shoes are not big enough to hide 100,000 dead Iraqis.