For Little Scottie the phrase of the day is “plowing old ground”.
Q Were you able to check into that report that Kim il-Jong sent a message — private message —
MR. McCLELLAN: Kim Jong-il?
Q Yes, that’s the one. (Laughter.) Sent a message to —
MR. McCLELLAN: Mr. Kim Jong-il.
Q Exactly, that’s the same one — in 2002 to President Bush?
MR. McCLELLAN: I saw the report you were referring to. I guess it was a couple of individuals who had written an op/ed in the Washington Post today. I don’t know what your questions are about it, but —
Q Well, the question is, was there, indeed, a message, did the President receive a message —
MR. McCLELLAN: I saw the op/ed that these individuals had written. I didn’t consider there anything new to be in that report. I mean, I’m not interested in going back and plowing old ground. We have a way forward for resolving the nuclear issue with regards to North Korea, and that is the six-party talks.
Q So you just won’t talk about whether —
MR. McCLELLAN: I’m just not interested in plowing that old ground.
Q I was. (Laughter.)
Next up, Iraq is the Central Front in the War on Terra and a great floor wax!
Q Scott, how concerned is the administration about the potential for Iraq to become a sort of training ground for Islamic extremists who may go back to their home countries and use these techniques to destabilize their governments? There’s a new report on that recently.
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, let me mention a couple things. As the President has said for some time now, Iraq is a central front in the war on terrorism. Wherever you stood before the decision to go into Iraq, I think we can all recognize that the terrorists have made it a central front in the war on terrorism.
Q Just following up on that question, you said at the outset of that, the terrorists have made it a central front in the war on terrorism. I thought it was a central front in the war on terrorism before we invaded.
MR. McCLELLAN: It is. It’s part of the war on terrorism, yes.
Q It was.
MR. McCLELLAN: No, it is.
Q It is now —
MR. McCLELLAN: Both.
Q Was it prior to —
MR. McCLELLAN: Both. It’s part of the war on terrorism, David.
Savor the snark.
Q Scott, can you disavow me of the notion that the “sharpening the focus” message you said the President was going to engage so far looks and sounds like summer reruns? What’s new or what will be new in style or substance?
We close with Your Daily Les.
Q Scott, the President has been asked to remove Ken Tomlinson as head of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting by 16 Democrat Senators, including Senator Durbin. And my first question, of two — doesn’t the President feel that this is actually a commendation of Mr. Tomlinson, coming as it does from Durbin and the rest of these Senators who should instead be asking Durbin to resign as Minority Whip?
MR. McCLELLAN: Wow, that’s tying a lot of things together, Les. Let me just say that we continue to support him. We reappointed him. He was originally appointed by the Clinton administration and we continue to support him in his work.