Let’s start today’s gaggle with a little Bolt-on action.
Q Does he, the President, consider it a defeat, however, that after his own personal lobbying of Senator Voinovich and the White House efforts with even other Republicans, that such a rare step was taken to vote him out of committee without recommendation — I think the third time in 22 years — does he not see that as a defeat, one? And, two, what does it say about the President’s relationship with Congress right now? A Republican-controlled Congress.
MR. McCLELLAN: [187-word blather without addressing the question.]
Q Sounds a little bit like a filibuster, Scott. What about the —
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I think you asked me a question about the relationship with —
Q But you know what I’m asking about. Does he consider this a defeat? This is a rare step that a Republican-controlled committee voted out. A defeat or not?
MR. McCLELLAN: I’m coming to that question, but you asked me a three-part question —
Q No, I asked you a two-part —
MR. McCLELLAN: — and I want to address your question about relations with Congress.
Yeah Scottie, but who will Chimpy assign to babysit Bolton? Or is Condi a liar?
Q Does the President agree with his Secretary of State when Secretary Rice said that Bolton, if approved, would need to be supervised at the U.N.?
MR. McCLELLAN: A couple of things on that. One, you ought to direct that question to the Department of State, because I’m not sure that they would characterize that exactly the way it was characterized by others. So I think you ought to ask the Department of State about it. But Secretary Rice —
Q But this is the White House, you could set us straight here.
MR. McCLELLAN: I’m glad you brought that up. Secretary Rice is another person who believes strongly that John Bolton is the right person at the right time to be at the United Nations. And, again, I’m not going to work off media reports, but in terms of —
Q Did she not say that? I mean, I assume the White House knows whether she said it or not.
MR. McCLELLAN: You can talk to Department of State about that. They’re briefing here very shortly, and I’m sure they’d be glad to respond to it.
Q Does the President believe he needs to be supervised?
MR. McCLELLAN: But anytime —
Q Just answer that question for us.
MR. McCLELLAN: — you have ambassadors, ambassadors report to the President through the Secretary of State. That’s just the process that’s set up. And when you have an ambassador at the United Nations, I think it’s long worked that way, that the ambassador reports through the Secretary of State to the President of the United States.
Q But does this guy, with his temperamental history, does he need to be supervised?
MR. McCLELLAN: I don’t agree that that’s an accurate characterization, in the first place.
Q You’re not saying, “no”?
MR. McCLELLAN: Again, you ought to talk to Department of State, and I’m sure they’d be glad to respond to that. So I don’t think you should take —
Q He’s the President’s pick.
MR. McCLELLAN: I don’t think you should take it as that.
Q I don’t think foisting it upon the Department of State is what you —
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, look, if you want to keep trying to jump in here, that’s fine, but I’m going to keep moving on to other questions, David.
Oh, no Scottie, the president has suffered a stinging defeat delivered by members of his own party. You can’t cut off the questioning with a simple “Go ahead”.
Q Well, we’re staying on Bolton for a while. California Senator Barbara Boxer has put a hold on Mr. Bolton’s nomination, saying she wants to see the classified documents from State and the NSA relative to the intercepts regarding Syria and Cuba. Any willingness on the administration’s behalf to comply with her demand for documents —
MR. McCLELLAN: The administration has been very responsive to the needs of the Senate to make sure that they have the information they need to do their job. I think that this is more just a delaying tactic just to try to draw this out. The Senate needs to move forward on this nomination so that he can get in there and start getting about the important work that needs to be done. And I would hope the Democrats wouldn’t try to play politics with this nomination.
Q So you’ll deny her request for those classified documents?
MR. McCLELLAN: Again, we’ve been very responsive to make sure that Congress has the information they need to do their job. And we have done that throughout this process.
Hey, here’s a surprise: sodomite extraordinaire David Hager is mentioned in the gaggle. Let’s bookmark Scottie’s denial here, it may come in handy later.
Q Scott, I wondered if I could return to the FDA’s decision last year to reject an advisory committee recommendation to make the Plan B emergency contraceptive more widely available. There are reports this week that an evangelical doctor, David Hager, wrote a memo to the FDA that played a role in that decision. And he has said that he was told by the White House — asked by the White House to serve on the FDA — an FDA panel on reproductive drugs. He says he was called by the White House and the White House said that, we feel there are some issues coming up that are very critical and we want you to serve on this panel. I’m wondering, did the White House play any role in him getting onto this — getting this appointment, and if so, why?
MR. McCLELLAN: I saw that report. A couple of things. First of all, that decision is a matter for the FDA. And in terms of the advisory panel that you’re referring to, those are appointments made by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The Secretary is one who appoints people to that advisory panel. And in terms of the reports, I did an initial look into it, and I know no one in personnel, from my understanding, had talked to him about it. And I’ll continue to look into it, see if there’s any additional information.
Q So as far as you know, he’s wrong and was not contacted by anyone at the White House?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I just said that I was able to do an initial check with some of our personnel team, and they had not spoken to him. But this is an appointment by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Last but not least, your Daily Les in which we find that the homos make Mr. Kinsolving all queasy inside.
Q In regard to your statement earlier in the briefing, supporting the ability of people to worship freely as being very important, the national headquarters of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights has received a news release from a homosexual organization called Rainbow Sash which announces their intention to go to Catholic masses and churches all over the country, this Sunday’s feast of Pentecost, to demonstrate while trying to receive the sacrament after they have denounced Pope Benedict as a liar and a homophobe. And my question: Surely, the White House will speak out against this worship disruptive extremism, won’t you, Scott?
MR. McCLELLAN: Les, I don’t know anything about this matter, but you have just had the opportunity to talk about it and express yourself freely. We believe all people should be able to worship freely and worship as they choose, and that’s —
Q In other words, you would oppose this interruption of masses on Pentecost Sunday, wouldn’t you?
MR. McCLELLAN: We want to see all people have the opportunity to worship freely and as —
Q Without being disturbed.
MR. McCLELLAN: — they choose. And that’s our position.