Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

Let’s start with the question of the day, shall we?

Q Is the President confident that Cheney did not leak Valerie Plame’s identity?

[*GULP*]

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I appreciate any question on this, but as you know, Suzanne, our policy is not to comment on an investigation while it’s ongoing. And that means any question relating to it. And I’m just not going to comment on an investigation while it’s ongoing. The President has directed the White House to cooperate fully with the investigation. I would encourage you not to prejudge the outcome of the investigation and not to speculate about it. What we have done is to make sure that we’re cooperating fully with the special prosecutor. We want him to come to a successful conclusion, and he continues to do his work.

Q You said that you were going to check to see if President Bush or either Cheney had been asked, once again, to go before the special prosecutor and answer questions after their initial hearing.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, the President has not. I provided you information when he was interviewed previously. And my understanding is the same applies to the Vice President.

[snip]

Q You said the White House is hopeful that Patrick Fitzgerald reaches a successful conclusion. Can you just clarify what you mean by that?

MR. McCLELLAN: That he’s able to come to a successful completion to the investigation, and determine the facts and then outline those facts for the American people.

Next, Helen jumps down Scottie’s multi-chinned throat over the latest American war crime.

Q Dispatches from Iraq said that yesterday we killed 70 people in Iraq, near Ramadi, including 18 children. I want to know what the President thinks of that.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, first of all, I think you need to talk to the military, because the military —

Q No, I’m talking here.

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, and as I’m responding to you, the military has said otherwise at this point. Now, the military has review mechanisms in place and when there are questions raised, they look into those matters, and so that’s something that, obviously, they will look into. But, beyond that, you’d have to talk to the military about where that stands. Now —

Q Eighteen children —

MR. McCLELLAN: — in terms of our United States military, our military goes out of the way not to target —

Q Why were 18 children killed?

MR. McCLELLAN: Our military goes out of the way not to target innocent civilians.

Q I’m not saying they were targeted —

MR. McCLELLAN: Our military goes out of the way to target the enemy, and to —

Q Why did they say 18 children?

MR. McCLELLAN: — bring to justice the terrorists and those who are seeking to prevent democracy from taking hold, through violent means, to justice. And that’s what our military does. And they do —

Q Seventy people were killed by an air strike.

MR. McCLELLAN: Helen, please let me respond, because I think it’s important to point this out when you’re bringing up a question like this. We fully support our men and women in uniform. They’re doing an outstanding job to defend our freedoms and to help the Iraqi people move forward on a free —

Q I’m not saying — I’m saying why did they kill 70 people?

MR. McCLELLAN: — to move forward on a free and peaceful future. I think everybody in this room would like me to have the opportunity to be able to talk to you about this question. And you’re assuming things that people have different recollections about right now, or have characterized very differently. And that’s why I said the military has review mechanisms in place, when situations like this arise, and they look into those matters. That’s why you need to talk to the military, to see where that stands.

Q Are the figures wrong in all the newspapers?

MR. McCLELLAN: The military is looking into the matter, Helen. I don’t have any more information at this point.

Q If I could follow on Helen’s question, though. Whatever the facts of this particular situation are, war is an inexact business, and children do get killed. And what I think she’s asking is for a response from the President about children who may have been killed as a result of American action.

MR. McCLELLAN: Look, I don’t want to assume, because this is an incident that’s being looked into.

Q I’m not assuming. I’m not assuming.

Finally, Dude – where’s my competence?

Q Two things relating to the Miers submission. She mentioned in there that she lost her ability to practice law here in D.C., I guess briefly earlier this year, for non-payment of dues. How did that happen?

MR. McCLELLAN: It was briefly. She quickly resolved it.

Q How — do we know how long?

MR. McCLELLAN: As soon as it came to her attention, she quickly resolved it.

Q And how does that slip her attention without her being notified about it?

MR. McCLELLAN: I’ll see what additional information I can get you, Ken. It was a matter that was resolved very quickly.

Q In her lengthy recitation of her legal background, she does mention very limited experience in trials that went to verdict or judges. She notes, by the nature of her practice, many things get settled. I think the number may have been as few as four or five cases actually tried to verdict. Is that a whole in the resum [sp] of a Supreme Court nominee?