First up in today’s gaggle coverage, Scotty must be letting the strain show.
Q Scott, with what looks like indictments pending in the CIA leak investigation, what’s the anxiety level like here at the White House? What’s the atmosphere in the hallways?
Q What’s the anxiety level like as you wait through this process to see what’s going to happen?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, we’ve got a lot of work to do, and so we don’t have a lot of time to sit back and think about those things.
Q So you’re losing yourself in your work, is that what it is?
Dead Nominee Walking.
Q I’m going to divert momentarily. Harriet Miers — there’s a picture emerging, despite the fact that the President keeps trumpeting her qualifications, that she appears in meetings with Republican senators to be singularly unimpressive. Why is that the case, do you think? And what are you prepared to do about it?
MR. McCLELLAN: I don’t know that I would agree. She has had 28 courtesy visits now with members of the Senate.
Q You can count them, but the Republicans are saying publicly that they’re not prepared to throw their weight behind her yet.
MR. McCLELLAN: I think you’re seeing a lot of members of the Senate saying, we want to hear what she has to say in the hearings, before they make a judgment. And remember, with Chief Justice Roberts, he had gone through confirmation hearings before. A couple years before he had been confirmed to the Supreme Court, so there was a familiarity with his views and his experience and his judicial philosophy.
Q But first impressions matter, too, and they’re not just first impressions, because numerous lawmakers have had some experience with her as — in her role here at the White House, and she does not seem to be making —
MR. McCLELLAN: Not numerous. I mean, I think some have, but not to a large extent. And certainly, the senators from the state of Texas know her well and they are strongly supportive of her, and as others come to know her, I think they will be, as well. But these are courtesy visits. This is an opportunity for her just to start to get to know the members of the Senate and for them to start to get to know her. She is also providing additional information. She’ll be sending some additional responses to questions to the Senate today. And then she looks forward to going before the Judiciary Committee and answering their questions.
Q Everything is A-okay on this —
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, we’re continuing to move forward on the confirmation process. I think what you’re seeing is the confirmation process play out. And senators who don’t know her are reserving judgment. And we respect that. That’s part of their role to play.
And now, your Daily Les.
Q Scott, just one question today. Since I presume the President is concerned with both education and equity, the trustees of American University here in Washington fired President Benjamin Landner and gave him a severance package of $3,750,000. And my question: Is the President at all concerned about this, or sympathetic with the students and faculty who are protesting?
MR. McCLELLAN: Maybe I forgot to announce at the beginning, the American University press briefing will be later this afternoon. (Laughter.) But direct those questions over there.