Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

Oooh, Little Scottie sufferred quite a grilling today on far too many subjects for one blog (go read the transcript and take note of the Social Security questions).

Yo, Scottie – how ’bout them insurgents, huh? Now, now Scottie – don’t throe a fit.

Q Scott, is the insurgency in Iraq in its last throes?

MR. McCLELLAN: Terry, you have a desperate group of terrorists in Iraq that are doing everything they can to try to derail the transition to democracy. The Iraqi people have made it clear that they want a free and democratic and peaceful future. And that’s why we’re doing everything we can, along with other countries, to support the Iraqi people as they move forward. The fact that they are making great progress on the political front is significant because that helps defeat the terrorists, because the terrorists don’t want to see democracy take hold. They don’t want lasting democratic institutions to be put in place. And that’s why we are standing with the Iraqi people as they move forward on the political front.

[snip]

Q But the insurgency is in its last throes?

MR. McCLELLAN: The Vice President talked about that the other day — you have a desperate group of terrorists who recognize how high the stakes are in Iraq. A free Iraq will be a significant blow to their ambitions.

Q But they’re killing more Americans, they’re killing more Iraqis. That’s the last throes?

MR. McCLELLAN: Innocent — I say innocent civilians. And it doesn’t take a lot of people to cause mass damage when you’re willing to strap a bomb onto yourself, get in a car and go and attack innocent civilians. That’s the kind of people that we’re dealing with. That’s what I say when we’re talking about a determined enemy.

Q Right. What is the evidence that the insurgency is in its last throes?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think I just explained to you the desperation of terrorists and their tactics.

Q What’s the evidence on the ground that it’s being extinguished?

MR. McCLELLAN: Terry, we’re making great progress to defeat the terrorist and regime elements. You’re seeing Iraqis now playing more of a role in addressing the security threats that they face. They’re working side by side with our coalition forces. They’re working on their own. There are a lot of special forces in Iraq that are taking the battle to the enemy in Iraq. And so this is a period when they are in a desperate mode.

Q Well, I’m just wondering what the metric is for measuring the defeat of the insurgency.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, you can go back and look at the Vice President’s remarks. I think he talked about it.

Q Yes. Is there any idea how long a last throe lasts for?

MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead, Steve.

What about that freedom and democracy shit, eh Scotts? Is what’s good for the Iranians good for the Egyptians and the Saudis as well?

Q Can I turn you for a moment to the Iran statement that the President issued earlier today. I’ll read you three lines from it: “Iran’s rulers denied more than 1,000 people who put themselves forward as candidates, including popular reformers and women who have done so much. The Iranian people deserve a genuinely democratic system in which elections are honest. They deserve freedom of assembly so Iranians can gather and press for any reform in a peaceful, loyal opposition that can keep the government in check.” Scott, can you tell us, if we wanted to insert the word “Egypt” every place you had Iran, and “Egyptians” everyplace you had Iranians, would you consider that also a fair statement of the administration policy?

MR. McCLELLAN: A couple of things. First of all, just on the general statement, different circumstances require different strategies, and people are going to proceed at different — at a different pace in different parts of the world. The President has said that in his remarks. You heard it in his inaugural address.

In terms of Iran, this is a message to the people of Iran. The President is saying that we stand with the people of Iran who seek greater freedom.

[snip]

In Egypt, the President has made it very clear that we appreciate the step that they are taking to have multi-candidate and multi-party presidential elections. That’s an important step. And it’s important that Egypt follow through on that commitment and have free and fair elections.

Iran is not having truly free and fair elections. This is something being driven by the unelected few.

Q Would you say, Scott, just to follow up on that, that the Iranian election that takes place tomorrow — which does have at least some multiple candidates — it clearly is not a form of Jeffersonian democracy — but would you say that it is a more advanced democratic step than, say, an ally like Saudi Arabia has conducted in the past year?

MR. McCLELLAN: I would say what we’ve said on Iran, and you know what we’ve said on Saudi Arabia, too.

Q My point here is —

MR. McCLELLAN: Like I said, different countries are going to proceed at different — at a different pace —

Q I understand that different countries —

MR. McCLELLAN: — and we’re going to be there to support them and urge them to continue moving forward. That’s why Iraq is so important, because Iraq will help send an important message to the rest of the Middle East about freedom. All people, the President believes, want to live in freedom. And we are going to continue to stand with all those who want greater freedom. That — advancing freedom and democracy is critical to peace and security for generations to come. And that’s why we are standing with those different countries. We’ve pointed out when they’ve taken steps to move on the path of reform and we’ve also expressed our concerns when they have moved back, or not taken steps to move forward. And we will continue to make our views very clear to all leaders and countries and urge them to continue moving down a path of reform and freedom.

Q Understanding, Scott, that different countries move at different paces, at the same moment, do you find any internal contradiction in the fact that when some nations make a move toward democracy, as Egypt did, you praise them, and then the President steps out and says, look, even our own democracy didn’t come together instantly. And yet, when other countries do that, you turn out a statement like today. How do you make that judgment?

MR. McCLELLAN: Like I said, David, and like I said at the beginning — I think you’re very well aware of this — different circumstances around the world require different strategies and different approaches. The President talked about that in his inaugural address, and that’s the way it was squared. It was squared in his inaugural address; you ought to go back and read it. Maybe you haven’t had a chance to look at it recently.

Goyal.

Yes, Scottie went running to Raghubir Goyal for cover, but Goyal ain’t your monkey no more, biatch.

Q Scott, on terrorism, back on the terrorism. Last week and this week, the President made great statements on defeating the terrorism around the globe. But this week, or today, according to press reports in Pakistan, a commander of Taliban said that Osama bin Laden was well and healthy and he’s still our commander-in-chief and he’s guiding us, and also Omar Mullah. So where do we stand now? Why —

MR. McCLELLAN: And your question was?

Q The question is, why can’t we get these people when they’re coming and making statements that Osama bin Laden is alive?

MR. McCLELLAN: As I’ve told you about before, those are two individuals we continue to pursue as part of our effort to win the war on terrorism.

Oh, yeah, Goyal fried Scottie’s nads with a question about HE WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED.

And finally, your Daily Les. Les is still having nightmares about the homos.

Q Scott, I just have one question today. Sarah asked mine. Maryland’s Republican Congressman Wayne Gilchrest has announced that same-sex marriage between two homosexual men is, in his words, “perfectly normal.” So he’s joining three other Republicans and 81 Democrats in a bill to end “don’t ask, don’t tell.” And my question: Surely, the President believes this is too serious for you to evade my question as to what is the President’s reaction to this?

MR. McCLELLAN: The President has made clear that he supports the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. It’s up to our military leaders to determine the best way to implement that policy. He’s also made his views very well-known when it comes to the sanctity of marriage. The President believes we ought to protect and defend the sanctity of marriage; it’s a sacred institution.