Talkin’ Tom DeLay in today’s gaggle.
Q How closely has the President looked at the details involved in the controversy of Tom DeLay? I mean, has he actually looked at the various cases of trips and who paid for them and who hasn’t, or has he looked at the situation from more of the point of view of overall support, and perhaps looking at the Democratic opposition as mal-intentioned? I mean, has he gotten into the case, the merits of the case?
MR. McCLELLAN: Those are issues that congressional leaders and Congressman DeLay are addressing, as I pointed out last week. I think that the President — you heard him address this issue again last week, before the newspaper editors, when a question was asked, and he pointed out that Congressman DeLay has stated he’d be glad to talk to the committee about those issues, as well. The President has made his views known on the whole matter. He looks forward to continue — he appreciates Leader DeLay’s leadership in Congress and intends to continue working very closely with him to get things done for the American people. That’s what he has done and we will continue to do. I know that this is a period when you want to continue to ask questions on a daily basis and seek our reaction to every new comment that someone makes, but those are all issues that will be addressed by congressional leaders and Leader DeLay. And we continue to strongly support him.
Q But hasn’t the whole situation peaked his curiosity about what the furor is about? Has he not looked into it?
MR. McCLELLAN: Has he not looked into what?
Q Details, the actual — sort of trip-by-trip, case-by-case allegations.
MR. McCLELLAN: Like you all, he sees the news coverage of it, as well. But he continues to strongly support Leader DeLay, and looks forward to continuing to work closely with him on the priorities of the American — for the American people.
Q So he is familiar with the details of the case.
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, Mark, he follows the news.
Q Is that going to be a major point of discussion with Speaker Hastert on the way back to Washington today, the Tom DeLay difficulties?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I would not think so. I would think that with Speaker Hastert he’ll talk about the priorities before Congress right now.
Q But is there a concern that it may be more difficult, that this could prove to be a distraction that would in some way hinder the President’s —
MR. McCLELLAN: No, actually, the President talked about that last week. He was pleased to meet with congressional leaders last week, including Leader DeLay, and their focus was on the important priorities facing the American people, and the important priorities before the United States Congress. They focused on the legislative agenda that is before us right now, and that’s where the President will continue to keep his focus. We’ve got a lot of work to do on big priorities facing the American people, like energy and Social Security. And we’re going to continue to work with Leader DeLay and others in Congress to get things done on those issues.
Wow, that leaves much to be digested. Scottie threw out all of his standard lines, including:
“you heard him address this issue again last week”
“The President has made his views known … “
“the President talked about that last week”
“They focused on… ” and ” …that’s where the President will continue to keep his focus”
I take two things away from Scottie’s pablum today. One: he no longer claims that DeLay is one of Chimpy’s “friends”, and Two: he claims that the president now “follows the news”.