Gaggle Extra: Jack Abrawho?

From Holden:

Poor Little Scottie, his efforts to obscure the Bush Assministration’s close ties to Jack Abramoff are just getting him in trouble. His non-denial denials are growing increasingly clumsy, and his credibility with the press corps is nill.

Q Were you able to find out whether Abramoff was part of the transition team, and in that respect, had any relationship to the Interior Department?

MR. McCLELLAN: In terms of any individual agency, I think you’d have to go and check with the people who were involved in that transition. In terms of the overall transition effort, I mean, we had an office that was running — I was very involved in that effort — and he wasn’t a member of the staff of any of the transition team here in Washington, D.C. But in terms of —

Q He wasn’t on the team at all?

MR. McCLELLAN: I don’t know of any other formal role he had, but again, if there are individual agencies where they might have sought advice from people, you have to ask those individual agencies, or people that were involved within their transitions.

Hmmmm…. “[H]e wasn’t a member of the staff of any of the transition team here in Washington, D.C.,” eh? Was the Department of the Interior transition team based in Northern Virginia or Maryland instead of DC proper? Because the Washington Post places him on the team.

With [Grover] Norquist’s help, Abramoff secured a spot on the transition team for the Interior Department after George W. Bush was elected president in 2000. He tried to place several officials in Interior, including an unsuccessful attempt to land a former Marianas official in the top spot overseeing U.S. territories.

And as anyone with half a brain could have predicted, Scottie is in full back-pedal mode over the number of courtesy calls Jack Abramoff has paid to the Bush White House.

Q Any update on the Abramoff visits to the White House beyond the three parties that he attended?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I indicated yesterday that I think there were some — a few staff-level meetings. But, no, I’m making sure that I have a thorough report back to you on that. And I’ll get that to you, hopefully very soon.