Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

In today’s gaggle Little Scottie was forced to defend Dick Cheney’s threat to shoot Iran in the face.

Q When the Vice President says Iran could face meaningful consequences, what does that mean?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, those will be discussions that take place with other members of the Security Council. As I indicated, the matter has been referred to the Security Council. After the review —

Q He’s not talking about a military response?

MR. McCLELLAN: We’re pursuing a diplomatic solution. It’s going to a new phase of diplomacy now when it heads to the Security Council. After this review is complete of the latest report, we expect that it will, very shortly, go to the Security Council and then those issues will be discussed before the Security Council. The regime in Iran has continued to defy the international community instead of join with the international community and work in a cooperative way.

Q So the Vice President didn’t mean to threaten military action today?

MR. McCLELLAN: He stated what the President has repeatedly stated and what we have repeatedly stated. He was stating our policy.

Yesterday Little Scottie flat-out lied about the necessity of Chimpy’s trip to Crawford to vote today. This time around he was a bit more circumspect.

Q Concerning the President’s quick trip to Texas today, has the plan all along been for him to vote in person, or is this a result of some inability to get a mail ballot in time?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, as I indicated previously, and I’ve already talked about this issue, the President has voted in person in some instances and he’s voted by absentee mail-in ballot in other instances. So he’s done it both ways. I know that in 2002 and 2004, he voted in person. The President looks forward to traveling to Texas later today and voting in person. It works out in a way that we are traveling to the Gulf Coast region tomorrow, so that happens to work well in this instance. But I’m not going to get into mail-in ballots versus voting in person. The President looks forward to voting later this afternoon in Texas.

Q He has property there in Crawford? (Laughter.)

Q Scott, was this the plan all along, or did something happen to necessitate it?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think I’ve answered the question. I’m not going to get into it beyond that.

Q — the cost to taxpayers to make this trip for something he could have done with a 37-cent stamp?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, like I said, he’s done it both ways, if you look at the past. Sometimes he’s voted in person; sometimes he’s voted by absentee mail-in ballot.

Q What about Mrs. Bush’s voting?

MR. McCLELLAN: She’ll be voting today, too.

Les Kinsolving had his usual two questions today (Question One bashed Yale University, Question Two bashed Bill Clinton) but for today’s Daily Les I thought I would feature this exchange, in which Les jumps in on another gaggler’s question in an attempt to force Scottie to admit that Bush opposes South Dakota’s abortion ban.

Q Scott, as you probably know, the Governor of South Dakota has now signed this abortion measure that the state legislature passed. Do you anticipate the administration will weigh in on this as it makes its way through the courts?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, let me express to you the President’s views. The President believes very strongly that we should be working to build a culture of life in America, and that’s exactly what he has worked to do. We have acted in a number of ways, practical ways, to reduce the number of abortions in America. The President strongly supported the ban on partial-birth abortions. This is an abhorrent procedure, and we are vigorously defending that legislation. We have acted in a number of other ways, as well.

Now, I think this issue goes to the larger issue of the type of people that the President appoints to the Supreme Court. And the President has made it very clear he doesn’t have a litmus test when it comes to the Supreme Court, that he will nominate people to the bench that strictly interpret our Constitution and our laws. But this is law that was passed by the South Dakota legislature and signed into law by the Governor of that state. And the President’s view when it comes to pro-life issues has been very clearly stated, and his actions speak very loudly, too.

Q So, again — now it’s going to wend its way through the courts. Will the administration weigh in, in the appeals process that is going to inevitably —

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, this is a state — this is a state law.

Q No, but it’s going to become a federal matter —

MR. McCLELLAN: It’s a state matter. The President is going to continue working to build a culture of life. He believes very strongly that we ought to value every human life, and that we ought to take steps to protect the weak and vulnerable, and that’s exactly what we have done. Now, you’re getting into the question of a state law, and so that’s something that will — the state will pursue.

Q But, Scott, no, maybe you don’t understand — it’s going to become a federal issue because it’s going —

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, let me reiterate. Maybe I’m not being clear — because the President has stated what his view is when it comes to the sanctity of life. He’s committed to defending the sanctity of life. He is pro-life with three exceptions — rape, incest and the life of — when the life of the mother is in danger. That’s his position. This is a state law, Peter. And I’m not going to —

Q So he would embrace this law as passed by South Dakota?

MR. McCLELLAN: This state law, as you know, bans abortions in all instances, with the exception of the life of the mother.

Q And not rape and incest, and so therefore, he must disagree with it, doesn’t he? Doesn’t he, Scott?

MR. McCLELLAN: The President has a strong record of working to build a culture of life, and that’s what he will continue to do.

Q I know, but you’re not answering my question, you’re dodging.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I’m telling you that it’s a state issue —

Q He is opposed to abortion laws that forbid it for rape and incest —

MR. McCLELLAN: Les, look at the President —

Q Isn’t that true, Scott? That’s what you said.

MR. McCLELLAN: Les, let me respond. Look at the President’s record when it comes to defending the sanctity of life. That is a very strong record. His views when it comes to pro-life issues are very clearly spelled out. We also have stated repeatedly that state legislatures, when they pass laws those are state matters.

Q He disagrees with South Dakota on this one, though, doesn’t he?

MR. McCLELLAN: Les, I’ve addressed the question.

Q He does, on rape and incest.

MR. McCLELLAN: I’ve addressed the question.