Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

Poor April Ryan, you can tell by her questions that Little Scottie is unresponsive.

Q Scott, the President said something very poignant in the Brian Williams interview, that he doesn’t care what people call him, but don’t call him a racist. Is he concerned, still three months after the Katrina relief effort, that there are still some African Americans who may feel that — the same way as Kanye West, and in these next three years, what can the President do to help turn that feeling around?

Q But some are saying — some had been saying that prior to Katrina, and some are saying that Kanye West just exposed the whisperers in the African American community from many years prior to Katrina. What can the President do beyond these steps that you said —

Q But, lastly, and still back on the question I’m trying to get an answer to, is the President still concerned that there is a pocket of African Americans beyond the people who live in Louisiana that feel that — that still, I guess, feel what Kanye West has said?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I’m not sure exactly what he said. I don’t recall exactly what he said. All I can tell you is what the President is doing —

Q “The President does not care about black people” —

MR. McCLELLAN: Oh, okay, that is just outrageous. And I think the President expressed that yesterday in the interview with Brian Williams. It’s outrageous to make such a suggestion like that. And it’s based on an ill-informed — it’s ill-informed and misguided comments. The President has acted to help people from all walks of life. And all you have to do is look at his record. The President has acted to make sure everybody has the opportunity to learn and succeed through the No Child Left Behind Act. These are historic education reforms. And that’s the best way we can help to address these injustices and inequalities that exist.

Challenging Bushspeak.

Q You keep talking about, “as Iraqi forces are stood up, U.S. forces can stand down.”

MR. McCLELLAN: That’s right.

Q Whether or not the insurgents are defeated, whether or not there’s a civil war, as there are more and more Iraqi security forces, does the U.S. just start pulling out?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, as they have the capability —

Q No matter what the conditions on the ground are.

MR. McCLELLAN: As they have the capability to be able to protect themselves, not only from external threats, but from internal threats, then we will be able to stand down coalition forces. And that’s what the President has talked about at length.

Q So, no matter what the conditions are on the ground?

MR. McCLELLAN: I’m sorry?

Q No matter what the conditions are on the ground, if there are more Iraqi troops —

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I’m not going to get into — get into speculation. I think the President has very clearly outlined it in the remarks he’s been making. It’s very clearly outlined in our National Strategy for Victory in Iraq.

About that torture fetish…

Q Isn’t the White House concerned that these discussions to nuance a ban on torture would send the wrong message to the Iraqis that currently are engaging in these practices?

MR. McCLELLAN: I’m sorry — what?

Q The discussions at the White House to nuance a ban on torture — a total ban on torture.

MR. McCLELLAN: We already have a ban on torture. The President has made it clear we don’t torture.

Q Any exceptions to —

MR. McCLELLAN: And I think what you’re seeing now is that if people engage in that conduct under — someone in the American government engages in that kind of conduct, they’re held accountable. We go in and investigate, we hold people accountable. And what you’re seeing now in Iraq is something that stands in stark contrast to the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. That was a cruel and brutal regime that systematically engaged in torture. And you have heard from the Iraqi government that the reports of abuse and mistreatment of detainees runs counter to their policy. And they have made a commitment to fully investigate these matters.

Your Daily Les.

Q Since Iran’s President Ahmadinejads says that Israel should be moved to Europe, and a U.N. ceremony in New York included a map of, “Palestine in place of Israel,” does the President believe that we should support eliminating Iran as a sovereign state, and returning that land to its legal owners, the Mongols?