Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

Just a quick hit to catch up on the gaggle today, in which an enterprising reporter who asks why soldiers who are banned from participating in partisan political activities are being used as props in Chimpy’s attacks on Democrats.

Q Scott, this is going back a little bit, but we’ve received some complaints from soldiers, both former and current, about the Tobyhanna speech and the Elmendorf, Alaska speech. They cite their own regulations that say U.S. soldiers cannot participate in partisan political activity. But when the President attacked Democrats, they are — they feel like they were put in the position where they’re supporting a democratic cause in uniform. Does the President feel —

MR. McCLELLAN: Who said that? I think the President was talking as Commander-in-Chief to our troops and talking to them about the war that we’re engaged in.

Q Well, he was talking about Democrats, as well. “Some Democrats who voted to authorize use of force are now rewriting the past.” He said, “It is irresponsible Democrats —

MR. McCLELLAN: That’s true.

Q — “claim we misled them.”

MR. McCLELLAN: Now, I notice — now, I notice they’re not making those same claims recently.

Q Well, nevertheless, does the President feel like it’s appropriate to inject the troops into what is, I think, quite clearly a partisan debate?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I disagree. The President is the Commander-in-Chief. No one has been more involved in this war on terrorism than our troops and their families. And our troops understand the importance of the mission. They understand what they’re working to achieve in Iraq, and they know that they’re going to win. And they know they have the full support of this White House and this President. We’re going to make sure they have everything they need to be able to accomplish that mission. And General Casey and General Pace both today in the meeting talked about how high the morale was of our troops, and what a great job that they’re doing, and how clearly they understood the stakes involved, and how clearly they understood the importance of completing the mission.