Today’s gaggle opens with a lesson in personal responsibility.
Q Scott, I just have two questions to follow up on the accidental shooting by the Vice President. Does the President think that the Vice President should address this publicly, personally, speak to the American people in any fashion to explain what happened and why it took so long to disclose it publicly?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think what happened has been explained. The Vice President’s Office has talked about it; I’ve talked about it. And I represent the President and speak for him. The Vice President’s spokeswoman speaks for him, as well. So that information has been provided. We went through this pretty thoroughly yesterday.
Q So the President doesn’t think that the Vice President should actually think about it himself, not through intermediaries?
MR. McCLELLAN: You talk to the Vice President on a fairly frequent basis in the past, and I’m sure you will in the future, as well.
Q But he shouldn’t really have to address specifically, in your view —
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, he has, through his office.
Which lead to another dust-up with David Gregory.
Q Okay, let me ask you this — is the President concerned that the Vice President made decisions about the public disclosure of this incident that are clearly at odds with how you and others advising the President disclose personal information about the President’s activities?
MR. McCLELLAN: If you want to continue to spend time on that, that’s fine. We’re moving on to the priorities of the American people. That’s where our focus is.
Q That’s fair, and that’s your prerogative, and I’ve got my job to do, which is, try to get you to answer that question. Does the President think it’s appropriate for the Vice President to essentially make decisions at odds with the public disclosure process of this White House?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think that I’ve expressed my views, and we went through this yesterday.
Q But that’s a non-answer.
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, that’s what I was trying to indicate to you —
Q Does the President have a view about how the Vice President has conducted himself?
MR. McCLELLAN: Again, that’s what I — I indicated to you yesterday what our views were.
Q No, I don’t recall you sharing the President’s view.
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, but can I finish responding? I’m glad to answer your questions.
Q You didn’t answer that question. It was very respectful —
MR. McCLELLAN: I was very respectful and responsive to you all —
Q The Vice President basically decided on his own to not disclose this, which is at odds with how you do business and how the President does business, right?
MR. McCLELLAN: I don’t want to make this about anything other than what it is. It is what it is, David. I was very respectful and responsive to your questions yesterday. I provided you the information I knew based on the facts that were available, and we’ve been through this pretty thoroughly.
Q You don’t have an answer to this question. All right, one final question.
MR. McCLELLAN: Wait, wait, I’m just not going to go back through it again. I’d appreciate it if you’d let me respond fully before you jump in.
Q All right, but — well, hold on one second. I’ve got one final question.
MR. McCLELLAN: Other people in this room have questions, and we’ve got an event coming up.
Q I understand that, but I’m not getting answers here, Scott, and I’m trying to be forthright with you, but don’t tell me that you’re giving us complete answers when you’re not actually answering the question, because everybody knows what is an answer and what is not an answer.
MR. McCLELLAN: David, now you want to make this about you, and it’s not about you, it’s about what happened. And that’s what I’m trying to —
Q I’m sorry that you feel that way, but that’s not what I’m trying to do.
MR. McCLELLAN: And I’m trying to provide answers to the questions.
Q I have one final question, since that one wasn’t answered. Is it appropriate for the Vice President to have waited 14 hours after the incident before he spoke with local law enforcement officials? And do you think that an average citizen would have been accorded that same amount of time before having to answer questions about a shooting incident?
MR. McCLELLAN: That was what was arranged with the local law enforcement authorities. You ought to ask them that question.
Does Scottie still think it’s funny?.
Q Back to the Saturday activities, understanding that the Vice President and his entourage’s primary concern was Mr. Whittington’s health, and remains so, last night the late-night comics went to town; this morning you joked about orange and the Longhorns being here. To what extent is there a certain degree of relief that Mr. Whittington seems to be fine, but a bit of, perhaps, humor involved —
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think Mr. Whittington remains in our thoughts and prayers. We all want to make sure that he’s okay and that he gets home and he recovers fully. And that’s where our focus is and that’s where it will continue to be. And I think people have to make their own judgments in terms of how they go about that.
What about Rove’s role?.
Q Scott, was it Karl Rove’s idea that Katharine Armstrong contacted the local press? I know that they spoke on the phone.
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I think Mrs. Armstrong has said how that idea came about.
Q So did they discuss it while they were on the phone?
MR. McCLELLAN: Not that I know of, no.
Q Could you find out for us?
MR. McCLELLAN: I just said I don’t believe so.
Finally, Scottie simply refused to answer anymore Dead-Eye Dick questions.
Q But, Scott, one of the reasons you said you delayed telling people about this is because you wanted to get all the information and some more information perhaps was gathered. So can you go back to your role again? You first heard about it Saturday evening, then didn’t hear that the Vice President was involved until Sunday morning. Were you asking questions? What were your concerns about a hunting accident, the Vice President was there —
MR. McCLELLAN: I went through this yesterday. I’m not going to —
Q I know we went through it already, but we didn’t get that answer. Why didn’t you know and —
MR. McCLELLAN: Martha, I think that if you have additional questions relating to this matter, that you should direct them to the Vice President’s Office. I’ve responded to you pretty fully in terms of my view, I’ve responded to those questions. I did so yesterday.
Chertie, you’re doin’ a heckuva job.
Q And one other quick one, on Michael Chertoff. Have there been discussions between Mr. Chertoff and Mr. Bush about whether Chertoff should, in fact, resign over Katrina?
MR. McCLELLAN: No. In fact, Secretary Chertoff is doing a great job at the Homeland Security Department. The President appreciates his strong leadership. He is someone who is committed to doing everything he can to protect the American people and to continue to take steps to make sure we are better prepared to respond to the threats that we face, whether those threats are natural disasters or those threats are from terrorism or other incidents.
Today’s Daily Les finds Mr. Kinsolving all worried about the gays.
Q There are Canadian news reports that the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal has contended that one of the sexual orientations is sadomasochism, while in Ottawa, the Justice Department has called for the legalizing of polygamy. And my question: Does the President recognize these developments as logical progression from the current demand for same-sex marriage by the sodomy lobby?
MR. McCLELLAN: Are you talking about Canada? (Laughter.)
Q Canada, yes.
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, direct your questions to Canada.
Q No, no, no, I wanted to know what does the President think about this.
Q So you’d rather go back to Saturday? (Laughter.)