Helen Thomas deserves a Pulitzer for putting up with this shit for so long.
Presidential press secretary Scott McClellan says he can be trusted.
But I don’t think he should take a poll in the White House press room
The record shows otherwise. McClellan might be forgiven for declaring from the White House lectern two years ago that Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, and deputy chief of staff Karl Rove had told him that they were not involved in leaking to the media that war critic Joseph Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, worked for the CIA.
McClellan is not about to finger his colleagues by accusing them of misleading him. But he has a lot more to answer for, especially in carrying out the administration’s battle plan of pumping up the case for war with Iraq with fibs. The most blatant among the falsehoods has been the constant attempt to link the 9/11 attacks to Saddam Hussein, even after the president conceded that there was no connection.
His technique when briefing White House reporters boils down to “the best defense is offense,” and he does not hesitate to use it when the going gets tough. He also tends to filibuster a question he does not want to answer.
Obviously, he is on a short leash and comes into the press briefing room with one page of scribbled notes. He does not dare deviate from his prepared answers, no matter what the question, and his responses tend to be robotic.
As a result, fewer reporters are showing up at the White House unless they are alerted that it will be a big news day.
McClellan always opens his briefings with a big smile, even with the White House enveloped in a bunker mentality, as it has been lately.
He does his homework and he is attuned to the headlines of the day, but he has developed his own style of evasion, often ignoring a question and turning to another reporter.
It worked in the early years of the Bush administration, which had a roll-over-and-play-dead press corps to deal with. Lately, White House reporters have become more challenging, more skeptical.
McClellan recently (and defensively) announced to the press corps that he had “faithfully carried out his duties and responsibilities.”
Maybe so, from the White House viewpoint. But as far as reporters are concerned, his answers leave a lot to be desired.