Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

Little Scottie really hates it when he has to explain away the Boss’s stupid lies.

Q I just wanted to ask in advance of the trip to New Orleans, something that broke last week that I don’t think in the middle of the trip everybody sort of got their arms around — I’m hoping you can clarify for me. That Associated Press report last week, it seemed to suggest that on the Thursday after Katrina, the President gave this interview on “Good Morning America” where he said there was no way to anticipate the severity of the storms or the levees breaking; and then from the briefing on Sunday, it appears as though Max Mayfield and others are telling him that’s exactly what could happen. Is there a contradiction here?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think the transcript actually talks about levees being over-topped. But we’ve already made clear what the President was referring to in that interview, and unfortunately some have taken it out of context and continue to take it out of context. The President made it very clear what he was referring to. If you will recall on August 29th when the hurricane hit and then it passed the New Orleans area, there were a number of reports — including media reports — saying that New Orleans had dodged the bullet, and there was some sense that the worst-case scenario did not happen.


Q When he says on Thursday, “no one could have anticipated,” he’s talking about this period of time after the storm had hit?

MR. McCLELLAN: After the hurricane had passed. That’s right. And there was — remember, there were a number of media reports — I can go back and cite those for you — that evening, Monday evening, and even some later, saying that New Orleans had “dodged a bullet,” that the worst-case scenario did not happen.


Q There’s been a lot of attention on that particular quote in all the months since Katrina. Is this a case where the President just wasn’t as clear as he should have been? Because when people ask him about that, they’re not really asking him to —

MR. McCLELLAN: Asking about?

Q Asking him about the situation that day — they weren’t asking him to replay what he’d read in the media, they’re asking him to draw on his knowledge from his briefings and so forth. And by saying that no one could have anticipated the breach of the levees, it suggested that he had a much more broad interpretation of that.

MR. McCLELLAN: I disagree. In fact, right at that time the made it clear what he was referring to and I made it clear what he was referring to. Yet, some reports continue to ignore what we had previously said about it and what he was referring to. So I think you have to look at what he was referring to. And he was very clear, when asked what he was referring to, when he made those comments, as was I.

Get ready for the al Qaeda Air Force.

Q The President’s budget, when it came to spending on advanced defense technology — the fighters and — is a lot richer than people had expected. Back in the spring when they were doing — preparing for the quadrennial defense review, it was thought that one or two of the advanced fighter programs would be eliminated or cut back, and defense stocks plummeted. And then in October we began to hear that maybe the cuts wouldn’t be so drastic. I’m wondering why the administration decided to fund these programs where we had a tight budget, when experts say we don’t need these advanced fighter —

MR. McCLELLAN: I think that goes to the other issue that Matt was bringing up, and that is we are a nation at war. We’re going to make sure that our troops have the resources they need to win the war on terrorism. And then we’ve got to look at exercising spending restraint elsewhere in the budget.


Q — like F-22 fighter, where there’s no other country in the world that has a plane that comes near that. Al Qaeda doesn’t even have planes.

MR. McCLELLAN: We can take a look at these specific issues. I don’t have that in front of me, but I think the Defense Department has briefed on those specific matters and talked about what our proposals are, and I’ll be glad to look at that specific one and talk to you about it.

Next, Scottie lies about the reason Chimpy is flying to Crawford.

Q Why is the President having to go to Crawford to vote in this primary? Could he not vote by absentee ballot?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, he’s done both in the past. I think in 2002 and 2004 he voted in person, and it worked out well that he would be able to vote this time in person, in Crawford, since we’re going to the Gulf Coast the very next day.

Here is your Daily Les.

Q Did the President watch any of the Academy Awards for prostitution and sodomy last night?

MR. McCLELLAN: I’m not aware that he caught any of it. I don’t know — I don’t know what you’re referring to, either. Les, I’m going to move on. I just don’t —

Q No, no, just one other —

MR. McCLELLAN: Les, no. I think we’ll stop it at that.

Q He had four.

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, but —

Q Human events —

MR. McCLELLAN: I’m not going to dignify any more with a response.

Go ahead.