The press corps was all a-twitter over Justice O’Connor’s impending resignation in today’s gaggle, you may wish to click the link to get a taste of the chaos.
One gaggler in particular, April Ryan, seems to have caught a bit of unfolding drama that Little Scottie did his best to deny. Could this been a telephone conversation between Chimpy and Frist regarding John Bolton’s floundering nomination?
Q Scott, while we were standing outside, the President was on the phone. And from your time line, it sounded like he was talking to Frist. Was he agitated? Because he seemed clearly agitated when he was on the phone. He was very — and you were in there. His hands were going, and he — no, his hands were going and he was holding papers and shaking the papers. And when he saw us looking, he moved away and went to another room. Was there some kind of problem between he and Frist on the phone?
MR. McCLELLAN: Not at all.
Q No, seriously. What were they talking about other than —
MR. McCLELLAN: What I just described. I mean, seriously, that was the discussion of the conversation. They were —
Q And then shaking —
MR. McCLELLAN: The President — no, April —
Q He looked agitated.
MR. McCLELLAN: No, not at all.
Q Scott, how far will the President go —
MR. McCLELLAN: That sounds pretty dramatic, but, no. I can assure you —
Q Well, if someone —
MR. McCLELLAN: I can assure you, no.
Q If one of our crack reporters has footage, you will see for yourself —
MR. McCLELLAN: You sound a little agitated, though. (Laughter.)
That’s right, Scottie. It’s April who was agitated, not dear leader. She’s only a woman after all.
Another gaggler had a question about the abortion issue to which Scottie gave his pat “the president has previously addressed that” non-answer… which in this case means “yes”.
Q Is there going to be a litmus test on abortion?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think the President has previously addressed that question. And I talked about the type of person that he would be looking for.
Q So it means he would object to someone who is pro-choice?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think the President has previously talked — previously addressed that question over the years.
Q What did he say?
Talking points alert: watch for Republicans to characterize even the weakest opposition to Chimpy’s nominee as “controversial tactics”.
Q Reaching out to Harry Reid, the White House — am I safe to say the White House realizes they have to have the Democrats in their corner on whoever they select? This person may not be to the extreme —
MR. McCLELLAN: What do you mean?
Q Look at what happened with the filibusters. The nuclear option.
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, look, I can’t imagine that they’re going to want to get into controversial tactics such as that.
Q Are you expecting anything like what you have seen — anything similar to what we’ve seen with Bolton, for example, so much confrontation?
MR. McCLELLAN: This is all kind of the speculation and analysis that you all will get into it. And, look, we’ll leave that to others. But I would expect that this is going to — I would hope that all members of the Senate would want to elevate the discourse. And I would — I just can’t imagine that Democrats are going to want to engage in controversial tactics.