Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

Here’s a good question from today’s gaggle:

Q Has he ever talked to the Schiavo family?

MR. McCLELLAN: No. I don’t know — I don’t think he’s ever met them before in the past.

Hmmm. Never me the people whose lives he has decided to smirk his way into, eh? So this circus must not have anything to do with the person, but rather a general problem in our society that must be addressed, right?

Q Scott, does the President believe that Congress should take wider, broader action to — along the lines of what the House originally passed, to cover all patients, like they are covering Terri Schiavo?

MR. McCLELLAN: I haven’t heard any discussion of that within the White House. This is an extraordinary case. It is a complex case, where serious questions and significant doubts have been raised. And the President believes the presumption ought to be in favor of live. But the presumption, particularly in a situation like this, where you have someone that is at the mercy of others, ought to be in favor of life. And that’s the President’s view. This was narrowly tailored to address this case.

Q So then why not extend —

MR. McCLELLAN: Because this was an extraordinary circumstance.

Q What makes it extraordinary, beyond a lot of attention being paid to it?

MR. McCLELLAN: The questions that have been raised. It’s unclear what her wishes are. And her family, her parents have expressed that they would care for her for the rest of her life. So there are serious questions and significant doubts raised. I think most Americans recognize the extraordinary circumstance involved here. And the President is always going to stand on the side of defending life.

Q Scott, if Congress would have passed a broader bill, you’re saying he wouldn’t have signed it?

MR. McCLELLAN: That’s speculative at this point. For the President — Democrats and Republicans alike came together to pass this legislation and give Terri Schiavo’s parents another opportunity to save their daughter’s life. And the President appreciates the efforts by Congress and he was pleased to sign the legislation last night.

[and later]

MR. McCLELLAN: The President believes that this legislation was important because it gives her parents another opportunity to save their daughter’s life, and that’s why he signed it into law. And we’ll see what happens with the court now.

Q Why not grant all parents that right? Why limit it to this one case?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think I addressed that previously Anne, when you brought it up. This is an extraordinary circumstance. And this law was narrowly tailored. It didn’t create any new substantive rights under federal or state law, but it is an extraordinary circumstance. We stand with Terri Schiavo’s parents. We stand with members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, and all those who are on the side of defending life. There are a number of questions that have been raised in this case and the President believes we ought to err on the side of life in this situation.

So much for principles. As for the depth of the president’s hypocrisy – it remains unplumbed.

Q Scott, you may remember this from your Texas days. A member of Congress in Florida, Deborah Wasserman Schultz, got on the floor yesterday and said that the President, when he was Texas Governor, signed a piece of legislation into law that, she said, would allow — when there’s a dispute, would allow a feeding tube to be removed and that — she was a little bit murky on exactly what the law was, but, essentially, she was saying that the President signed something into law that’s contradictory to what he is doing now.

[Worst. Prepared. “Journalist”. Ever.]

MR. McCLELLAN: That’s absolutely incorrect. The legislation he signed is consistent with his views. You know, this is a complex case and I don’t think such uninformed accusations offer any constructive ways to address this matter. The legislation that he signed into law actually provided new protections for patients. He had previously vetoed legislation in 1997, when he was Governor, which essentially would have sanctioned current law in Texas that allowed hospitals to stop providing life-sustaining treatment — because under Texas law, prior to the passage of the ’99 legislation that he signed, there were no protections. And so this legislation was supported by many; it enjoyed strong bipartisan support; concerned citizens, various groups came together to support this legislation and put in place new protections for patients.

The legislation was there to help ensure that actions were being taken that were in accordance with the wishes of the patient or the patient’s family. And let me give you an example. Prior to that legislation being passed I think there was a 72 hour period where if the hospital notified a patient — or the family that represented the patient that they were going to deny life-sustaining treatment, then they had just that 72 hour period to find a place to transfer the patient, that would provide the treatment.

This legislation, some of the new protections it put in place were –included, the ethics committee review by the hospital, in working with the families as well, making — you know, to discuss those decisions, determinations. And it also provided a 10-day period, so they had 10-day notice to be able to transfer the patient to another health care provider. And it also authorized court proceedings to extend that 10-day period in order to extend that transfer, if necessary.

So it’s just an uninformed accusation.

Um, here’s the law to which Chimpy affixed his mark back when his incompetence was a curse on only one of our fifty states. There’s no way you can read that and not declare Scotty a liar. I was here in Texas and reasonably aware at the time, this law made a criminal act (euthenasia) legal if the victim was poor, as I remember it.