Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

In today’s gaggle George Voinovich is now a democrat, according to Little Scottie.

Q Scott, will the President withdraw John Bolton, or will he make a recess appointment?

MR. McCLELLAN: We continue to urge the Senate to give John Bolton an up or down vote. John Bolton deserves an up or down vote on the floor of the Senate.

[snip]

Q So how will you break the impasse?

MR. McCLELLAN: We will continue to talk with the Senate leadership; we’ll continue to reach out to those who are interested and recognize that we have worked in good faith to address these issues. It’s clear that the Democratic leadership is not interested in finding a middle ground; they’re not interested in information. The information has been provided and made available to people.

[snip]

Q Scott, it’s not just the Democratic leadership or members of the Democratic Party — it’s members of the President’s own party, some of which are calling for him to withdraw the nomination. So is he going to heed those calls or not?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, that’s not correct, Jennifer. It’s a minority of Senate Democrats that are preventing this nomination from moving forward. It’s very clear that he has —

Q Senator Voinovich is a Republican.

MR. McCLELLAN: It’s very clear that he has majority support. You’re talking about one individual who has expressed his opposition to his nomination. But it is a minority Senate Democratic leadership that is preventing this nomination from moving forward and that is preventing from [sic] John Bolton getting about, doing the important work of reform at the United Nations.

And the president’s strategy for convincing dems to support Bolton? It’s eerily similar to his strategy for handling post-invasion Iraq.

Q What is your strategy, then? Are you going to try and convert individual Democrats? Because otherwise you have no alternative except a recess appointment.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, you know, Bill, there was a recent agreement on judges, and I think it showed a spirit of bipartisanship and a spirit of goodwill between Republicans and Democrats who were interested in getting things done in the United States Senate.

[snip]

And there are some Democrats that have turned away from the Democratic leadership and said he deserves an up or down vote. And it’s not that many more that is required to move forward on this nomination.

Q So what incentive might the White House offer to gain such a coalition?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think the American people expect better. And let’s call it what it is — this is simply an effort to block the nomination of John Bolton and play partisan politics. It’s nothing but that. We’ve got important work to do at the United Nations when it comes to reforming it and making it more effective and making it work better. And John Bolton is the kind of guy we need there to do that.

Today saw yet another attempt to nail Scottie down on the “last throes” question.

Q Scott, can we get a clear “yes” or “no” answer on whether the President agrees on the Vice President’s assessment that the insurgency is in “its last throes?” Is it a “yes” or “no”?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think I already answered this question the last couple of days.

Q Is it “yes” or is it “no”?

MR. McCLELLAN: And I’ve talked about it the last couple of days. If you look — if you look at the terrorists and the regime elements that are seeking to derail the transition to democracy, they are in a desperate mode, and here’s why. Let me walk you through this.

First of all, I think, to begin with, you ought to go back and look back at the full context of the Vice President’s remarks, where he talked about the progress we’re making to go after and capture al Qaeda elements that are inside Iraq — like Zarqawi lieutenants.

[snip]

They, every step of the way, have not been able to stop the progress that the Iraqi people are making on the political front. And they are being defeated and they will be defeated.

Q So that’s a “yes”?

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, I said that. I said that the other day.

And in today’s edition of your Daily Les, Scottie gets a little testy with Les-ty.

Q Did the President believe it was wrong for House International Relations Chairman Henry Hyde to tell the House, “When it comes to sanctions against the United Nations for failing to reform, if you leave it to the State Department, you’re plowing in the sea.”

MR. McCLELLAN: We all share the goal of reforming the United Nations. That is something we share with —

Q Was Hyde wrong?

MR. McCLELLAN: — Chairman Hyde.

Q You share with it, oh, good.

MR. McCLELLAN: Reform at the United Nations, Les. You know exactly what I’m referring to, so let’s not try to put words in my mouth. But we all —

Q No, no. I would never try to do that.