Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

Little Scottie came out swinging his pudgy fists today on the sinking Bolton nomination.

Shorter Scottie: It’s all those lying Democrats’ fault! Bolton testified for eight hours! WAH!!!

Q A follow-up on John Bolton — is that nomination lost?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, absolutely not. I think what you’re seeing is some Democrats on the committee trumping up allegations and making unsubstantiated accusations against someone the President believes will do an outstanding job at the United Nations. He is someone who has been an effective manager, a strong diplomat who has gotten things done. And I think he’s earned the respect of many people that he has worked with because of what he’s done.

The United Nations has a lot of important business before it right now. And we need to get him in office.

Q — apparently he didn’t think these were trumped-up allegations. He’s your guy on the committee. He’s a Republican.

MR. McCLELLAN: Let’s talk about what occurred here. Senate Democrats on the committee continue to bring up these allegations that are unsubstantiated, that are unfounded, that John Bolton has addressed in his testimony, in more than eight hours of testimony before the committee, that he’s addressed in written responses to follow-up questions, as well. And I think what you’re seeing is the ugly side of Washington, D.C., that people are playing politics with his nomination.

[Scottie cut: “United Nations” and “important business” repeated three times.]

In terms of Senator Voinovich, I understand he wasn’t able to attend the testimony last week by John Bolton. We are more than happy to answer any questions that he has, and we are in touch with him about those matters.

Q But, Scott, Mr. Bolton did not specifically answer the allegations that had been raised, under oath — not in some closet, but under oath, in front of the country, people came forward to say things that he had done as manager in the State Department that they believe render him unfit to be at the United Nations. And he hasn’t answered those allegations.

MR. McCLELLAN: Oh, I think he has responded to the questions. He responded in more than eight hours of testimony to some of the accusations that were made. This is someone who has served in government for quite some time, someone who has a proven record of being able to get things done, someone who shares the President’s commitment to making sure that we have effective multilateral organizations. And we are confident that the Senate will confirm his nomination. We hope that the Democrats on the committee would stop playing politics and stop raising these unsubstantiated accusations and move forward on a committee vote.

Q It’s not Democrats who are raising it — people who worked for him. So you’re saying they’re liars?

MR. McCLELLAN: Terry, I think that these allegations have been addressed in his testimony and in written responses to the committee, as well. I don’t think I have any intention of going back through those allegations from this podium. We want to see him confirmed, and believe he will be.

What ever you say, Scottie, but it was Republican Senator Voinovich who put the kibosh on Bolton yesterday. What are you going to do to him?

Q Scott, what’s the nature of the White House communication with Senator Voinovich now? You mentioned that you’re in touch with him. What’s the White House saying, and who’s talking to him?

MR. McCLELLAN: We’re in staff-level discussions with him to make sure he has answers to the questions he has.

Q Do you think he was misguided yesterday?

MR. McCLELLAN: In terms of?

Q In terms of his discomfort with the Bolton nomination.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, look, I think that you had some Democrats on the committee that continue to lower the discourse and bring up unsubstantiated accusations. They continued to trump this up. And Senator Voinovich wasn’t able to attend the hearings last week where John Bolton addressed all these issues and so he had some questions. And we’re more than happy to address those questions with him, and that’s what we’re doing.

Q Are you suggesting that he was at fault for some reason in skipping that hearing?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I think members of Congress have a lot of business that they have to focus on. I’m suggesting that — what the facts are, that Democrats on the committee are playing politics with this nomination. There is a, sometimes, a desire in this town to score political points. And that brings out the worst in Washington, D.C.

[Scottie cut: John Bolton – great guy! United Nations – needs reform!]

And later Scottie had to be dragged back into a discussion of Bolton while kicking and screaming.

Q Scott, getting back to Bolton for a minute. You’re obviously —

MR. McCLELLAN: You jumped ahead of four people who had their hands up in your row.

Q Sorry.

MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead.

Q I had my hand up, too. Getting back to the nomination —

MR. McCLELLAN: You stand out. (Laughter.)

Q I’ll take that as a compliment. Getting back to Bolton, your conversation with Voinovich, obviously, to try and resolve questions that he has. Are you encouraging the nominee to do the same sort of thing with anybody on the panel who has remaining questions, either answering things in writing or going beyond what he said in his testimony? Is there any effort to construct dialogue in that way —

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, as I said, I think he’s been through and addressed these issues, and we’re going to make sure that Senator Voinovich has answers to the questions that he wants answered. But I think John Bolton, through eight hours — more than eight hours of testimony, and through many, many written responses to questions that the committee had following that hearing, has addressed these issues.

Q And if that’s not enough for them, will you encourage him to go further?

MR. McCLELLAN: For who?

Q For the members of the panel.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think Democrats are content to continue to play politics with his nomination. But there is a Republican member of the committee who was unable to be at some of the hearings, and he has some questions and we’ll make sure that those questions are addressed with him.

Later still, Scottie’s reasoning is challenged by a folow-up.

Q With regard to the Bolton nomination, I’m trying to get my head around “unsubstantiated allegations.” With regard to the allegations of trying to have senior intelligence analysts removed from their portfolios, my understanding is that the allegations were made by those analysts, independent intelligence analysts, were substantiated by their superiors and have been corroborated by others, and even Mr. Bolton himself concurs that something occurred. So I’m not quite sure what “unsubstantiated” means about that one in particular.

MR. McCLELLAN: The accusations that are being made are unsubstantiated. Again, Democrats continue to raise them. These matters have been addressed before the committee. I’m not going to go and dignify these unsubstantiated accusations from this podium by responding to them.

[Scottie cut: Bolton – experienced! United Nations – needs reform!]

Q So because — the people who made the allegations made them and others have corroborated them, so it seems to me that they may be disagreed with, but they weren’t necessarily unsubstantiated.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I disagree. And John Bolton has been through this and addressed these allegations.

Democrats continue to play politics with his nominations. That’s what this is about. It’s an ugly side of Washington, D.C., it’s an unfortunate side of Washington, D.C., but we’re confident that he will be confirmed.

Whew! Sounds like Scottie is spinning so hard he’s about to wobble off of his axis! George Voinovich better duck and cover, they’re in panic mode now – who knows what they will do.