Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

After mouthing off a bit to the WaPo’s Jim VandeHei, Little Scottie denied that the White House was considering some personnel changes — before seeminlgy confirming that they were.

Q Scott, at the risk of making you even more tired, I’m wondering —

MR. McCLELLAN: I’m not tired, Jim. You might be —

Q Well, after this question you may be. The calls from the current senators, and even former senators, from what we understand, to change the staffing, expand it, if not swap out, is there anything to it? Are any staff changes at the White House imminent?

MR. McCLELLAN: Jim, let me speak very clearly to this. This is part of the inside Washington babble that goes on in this town. It’s part of the parlor game. We are focused on the priorities that the American people care most about and getting things done. We are focused on helping the President advance his agenda, to make America safer and more prosperous. There are a lot of important priorities we’re working to advance, and we’re working to advance, and we’re working to build upon a record of great accomplishment. And that’s where our focus is.

You know, in this room, that I never speculate about personnel matters, but there has been a good bit of change in this administration over the course of the last few years. But this President greatly appreciates the team that he has in place and all that the team is doing to help him advance his agenda. And I think the American people want us to keep our focus on their priorities, and that’s what we’re going to do. If Washington wants to play the parlor game, they can do that.

Q So I can take that as a no?

MR. McCLELLAN: I’m sorry?

Q I’ll take that as a no, there are no staffing changes imminent?

MR. McCLELLAN: Jim, I just told you that I never publicly speculate about personnel matters. People in this room who have covered this White House know that very well.

Q That means there could be staff changes imminent, and we wouldn’t know about it.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, that means you’re jumping into speculation.


Q That doesn’t mean that they aren’t in the works.

MR. McCLELLAN: Not yet. Okay. (Laughter.) Nothing imminent, though? Okay, fair enough.

Hate on the gays!

Q Scott, the administration has removed some language from the rules allowing gays and lesbians to get national security clearances. The language is that sexual orientation may not be used as a basis for, or a disqualifying factor in determining a person’s eligibility for a security clearance. Why did they remove that language?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the language that you’re referring to is based on an executive order that was put in place by the previous administration. And that executive order is aimed at preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation, and it has some very specific language in that executive order. There’s no change in our policy. The language that you’re referring to reflects what is in that executive order.

Q So why take it out if there’s no change in policy?

MR. McCLELLAN: I don’t think they took out language. I think that they updated the language to reflect exactly what was spelled out in the executive order. There’s no change in the policy.

Q But they took this language out. This is gone. It doesn’t say that anymore.

MR. McCLELLAN: I don’t know what language you’re specifically referring to, because I think the language is very similar to what it says in the executive order and the policy remains the same.