Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

Today’s gagglers took a Bolt-on to Scottie’s ass over the failing nominee to be our next UN ambassador. Scottie’s talking points remain: bad Democrats are lodging unsubstantiated accusations against a experienced guy we think will be confirmed.

The press corps would have none of it.

Q You said the President was 100 percent in his backing of Bolton today. Can we infer from that, that the President simply doesn’t believe these allegations that have been made about Bolton, including the one from this woman who was an associate of Bolton? She claims he chased her around the hotel, was verbally abusive to her. Does the President simply not believe the allegations that are out there, or does he feel that whether they’re true or not, it’s so important to have Bolton at the U.N. that just — he should be confirmed?

MR. McCLELLAN: These are unsubstantiated accusations that Senate Democrats continue to bring up. They have been addressed by John Bolton in testimony before the Senate. He has testified for more than eight hours, including on issues of this nature. He has responded to a number of written questions that were in follow-up to that hearing, as well. It is time to move forward on his nomination, and the President wanted to make it clear today that the Senate needs to quit playing politics, and they need to move forward and confirm this person.

Q And the President simply does not believe the allegations.

MR. McCLELLAN: John, these are unsubstantiated accusations against John Bolton. John Bolton is a strong, effective diplomat who has a proven record of getting things done. If you look at his record, he has worked to help us move forward with Russia to agree to the Moscow Treaty, which will help us reduce our nuclear arsenal. He has worked on the efforts as the negotiator with Libya to get Libya to abandon its weapons of mass destruction program.


Q Scott, you say John Bolton gets things done, and yet, some U.S. officials are expressing today that they believe part of the reason why North Korea walked away from the six-party talks had — in some part, had to deal with the strong language that John Bolton used in his speech in 2003 when he described North Korea as a “hellish nightmare.” Given that, are you concerned that the longer this nomination takes to put through that there may be more reasons that might emerge for people not to vote for John Bolton?

MR. McCLELLAN: I disagree with that view, first of all. And second of all, as I stated, we’re confident that he’s going to be confirmed. We want to see him confirmed as quickly as possible because this is an important position that has a lot of important challenges that need to be addressed at the United Nations.


Q Scott, you said that these allegations against Mr. Bolton — Secretary Bolton are unsubstantiated. But just generally speaking, if there was a staffer here at the White House who conducted — this amounts to workplace abuse and harassment, the types of allegations — some of the allegations that are talked about. If there were a staffer here at the White House who was engaged in that kind of activity, would the President tolerate that?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, first of all, that’s a hypothetical. And you’re asking me to agree with the characterization that you just made. And I’ll — I don’t. I think that these accusations are unsubstantiated. I think they have been addressed by John Bolton himself. And John Bolton is someone who has proven himself as a manager and proven himself as someone who has earned respect of those who he’s worked with because he’s someone that is committed to achieving meaningful results.

Q But just generally speaking, does the President feel that if somebody’s qualifications are — if somebody is very well qualified for a job, that in some way, that would ever override even minor allegations of workplace abuse?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, you’re asking me a hypothetical. You’re also asking me in the context of this nomination, and I just don’t accept that. So — go ahead, Les.

That’s right, Scottie had to hand it off to Les in order to shut down that line of questioning [see bleow for Les’ contribution].

Here’s another line of questioning Scottie would like to avoid: the nexus between a falling market and Chimpy’s attempts to sell private accounts.

Q Scott, I’d like to turn to the economy. The Dow Jones Industrials have fallen more than 6 percent since January 1st. Is the President troubled by that?

MR. McCLELLAN: I noticed before I came up here that the market was up, somewhat, today. I think 130 points was the last —

Q I’m thinking the broader view —

MR. McCLELLAN: — was the last I looked. If you want to take the broader view, I would look at where it’s been over the last few years and where it is today….


Q Well, if I could follow up, the stock market rises and falls, as everybody knows, but with the 6 percent decline since the first of the year, is that giving any trouble in selling the personal account side of Social Security?

Ha! Scottie prattled on about overall market gains during the past 80 years, but that would be little solice to someone who needs his or her money when the market happens to be down.

Finally, a bit of Newspeak regarding conditions in Iraq.

Q Could I ask you a question about Iraq. Does the President have any concern that the latest surge of violence in Iraq has anything to do with Iraqi forces taking responsibilities more and more?

MR. McCLELLAN: I don’t know that I’d look at it that way. I think I’d look at it as there is important progress being made on all fronts in Iraq.

Fabulous, up is still down.