Today’s gaggle once again features the unlovely Terrence Trent d’Uffy. And, really folks, why do we need Little Scottie to dodge questions when Trent can do it for us?
First, the compromise dodge.
Q Trent, a couple of questions. First, what’s the President’s position on some of these conversations going on in the Senate to try to broker some sort of a deal? Is he open to the idea of a compromise that may get some of the judges through, and also bypass the idea of ending the filibusters?
MR. DUFFY: The President has been quite clear that he continues to believe that all of his judicial nominees deserve a simple up or down vote in the Senate. As far as discussions about compromises, those are discussions that are taking place in the Senate; those involve Senate procedures and the President and the White House defer to Senate leaders about Senate procedures. But the President’s view has been very clear, it hasn’t changed one iota.
Q Well, but you — perhaps you’re intending to influence that. If his position is inflexible with regard to getting all nominees an up or down vote, then would he not agree to any compromise that may, in effect, block one or more nominees?
MR. DUFFY: I think it’s very clear the President just wants simple up or down votes on his nominees, on all of them.
Q So is that to say that a compromise that would not provide that is unacceptable?
MR. DUFFY: I think I’ve stated it as clearly as we can and we defer to the —
Q Well, obviously not —
MR. DUFFY: — defer to —
Q Is it a compromise —
MR. DUFFY: The President wants — the President —
Q — that doesn’t get an up or down vote on all the nominees? Is that acceptable or not?
MR. DUFFY: The President wants an up or down vote on all his judicial nominees.
Followed by the Laura Dodge [be careful or the Laura Dodge might run you down.]
Q Trent, what’s the President’s reaction to the First Lady saying she believes that, in fact, the President should have been interrupted during his bike ride when we had the plane scare at the White House? Does the President agree with the First Lady’s assessment?
MR. DUFFY: The First Lady said that she has full confidence in the Secret Service, and so does the President. They do excellent work. They put their lives on the line each and every day to protect both the President and the First Lady, their families, the Vice President, Mrs. Cheney and their families. And that’s all I have to say about it.
Q But the question is more, does he agree with the First Lady that he should have been interrupted, not whether he believes Secret Service does a good job.
MR. DUFFY: He agrees with the First Lady that the Secret Service does an outstanding job and they have the full confidence in the Secret Service.
Now, a bit of death pnalty irony.
Q Trent, a clarification on the stem cells. You’re saying the President believes in the promise of human embryonic stem cell research, but is concerned about taxpayer money being used to fund that research.
MR. DUFFY: He’s concerned about taxpayer funding of a practice which involves the destruction of human life, yes.
And in today’s edition of Your Daily Les we find that Mr. Kinsolving is concerned about Little Scottie.
Q There have been dozens of syndicated columnists and editorial pages, including today, such as The Wall Street Journal, which have all strongly denounced Newsweek. And the Drudge Report republished several lines of the briefing transcript on Tuesday where certain network people in this room “ripped into Scott on this issue,” as Drudge headlined. And my question, since MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann wrote about Scott’s alleged letter of resignation, you can assure us that the President regards this as being as asinine and abusive as the network bullying of Scott, can’t you?
MR. DUFFY: Let’s see, if I start on that — (laughter.) I think we’ve been clear about Newsweek making an error, retracting their story, and we —
Q What about the letter of resignation, this —
MR. DUFFY: Hold on a second, hold on —
Q — the letter of resignation and the bullying of Scott?
MR. DUFFY: I think we’ve covered Newsweek cover to cover.
Q No — no comment? You’re not — Scott has not submitted a letter of resignation, has he?
Q He’s gone. (Laughter.)
MR. DUFFY: Les, we all serve at the — we all serve at the pleasure of the President. Scott has not offered any letter of resignation.
Q So that is just absolutely rubbish, isn’t it?
MR. DUFFY: Thank you, Les.
Q Where is Scott, seriously? (Laughter.)
[Little Scottie is providing a commencement speech at the University of Texas and will return Monday.]