Your President Speaks

From Holden:

Or more precisely, your president takes a few questions from the nation’s newspaper editors.

On Armstrong Williams, the investigation he is currently stonewalling.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. We’re all aware of the press issues with Armstrong Williams and the video news releases and using government funds to promote true media in journalism — positions that you feel you need to get out. Is that consistent with your values and your First Amendment beliefs? And do you think that’s deceptive to the American people?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, it’s deceptive to the American people if it’s not disclosed. And I — first of all, in reviewing this issue have been told this has gone on for quite a while. It makes — that doesn’t excuse the behavior here, but nevertheless it has been, in that it’s a legal — it’s legal for — to use these video news clips. But it’s incumbent upon people who use them to say, this news clip was produced by the federal government.

Armstrong Williams — it was wrong what happened there in the Education Department. But, no, I think there needs to be full disclosure about the sourcing of the video news clip in order to make sure that people don’t think their taxpayer’s money is being used to — in wrong fashion.

On his fascination with death and his strong disagreements with the late pope.

Q Mr. President, in the aftermath of the terribly distressing national debate over the case of Terri Schiavo, you spoke of the need to establish a culture of life, and yet there’s one way in which the United States has long been out of step with much of the rest of the world in terms of one appreciation of life, and that is in the use of the death penalty.


Q Can you please talk about a little bit about your view of the death penalty and how that fits into your vision of a culture of life?

THE PRESIDENT: Sure. Thanks. I have been supportive of the death penalty, both as governor and President. And the difference between the case of Terry Schiavo and the case of a convicted killer is the difference between guilt and innocence. And I happen to believe that the death penalty, when properly applied, saves lives of others. And so I’m comfortable with my beliefs that there’s no contradiction between the two.

On Tom DeLay, who he may or may not consider to be a friend.

Q Your fellow Republican from Texas, Tom DeLay, has blamed the ethical controversy around him largely on bias by the liberal news media. Do you agree with him on that —

THE PRESIDENT: Of course not. (Laughter.) Go ahead. Sorry to interrupt you.

Q Do you think Mr. DeLay has become a liability to your party or your agenda?

THE PRESIDENT: No, I appreciate that. Look, as I’ve read his comments today, he wants the Ethics Committee to review his case and he’s willing to step up and talk to the Ethics Committee about it. And, secondly, I’m looking forward to working with Tom. He’s been a very effective leader. We’ve gotten a lot done in the legislature, and I’m convinced we’ll get more done in the legislature. And I’m looking forward to working with him.

And finally, on that whacky old Plame investigation.

Q Mr. President, kind of a follow-up on the same topic, when you talk about risks of exposing sources of information to an impact on life, do you think that Judith Miller and Matt Cooper are wrong for not disclosing their sources?

THE PRESIDENT: Why don’t we let the courts decide that. You think I’m going there? You’re crazy. (Laughter.)


No, look, this is all — we’re all under the microscope on this issue. This is an issue that there is a — Mr. Fitzgerald is looking into all aspects of this issue, and so it’s — on the advice of counsel, I’m not talking. (Laughter.)