Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

The gagglers just won’t stop asking Little Scottie about the ongoing staff shake-up at the White House. A shake-up that Scottie admits is indeed ongoing while claiming it is unnecessary.

Q Thanks. The President this morning made it sound almost inevitable that there will be more changes once Mr. Bolten comes on board. Obviously, you’re not going to talk about what those are.

MR. McCLELLAN: But you’ll ask anyway.


Q But he also said that he needs good, crisp information. And that suggests that he’s not getting it.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, no, I don’t think he was suggesting that. In fact, he expressed — again, he expressed his gratitude for all that Andy has done to help make sure that he is getting the kind of information he needs to make those decisions on behalf of the American people.

Q So why is —

MR. McCLELLAN: But there are always — we always learn from experience. That is something this White House has always done. And the President pointed out that Andy had helped assemble a very smart, capable and experienced team, and the President appreciates the job that the team is doing.

Q Then why reorganize, which the President implied —

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, for the reasons that Andy —

Q — strongly is going to happen, if there isn’t a need — if there’s no need for change?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, for the reasons that Andy talked about earlier. I think any White House goes through changes. And we’ve gone through a lot of change over the last few years, but it’s also important to have continuity, so you have to balance that continuity with change. And with a new Chief of Staff coming in, of course the President is going to look to the new Chief of Staff for his recommendations and his thoughts and counsel.

Q But it sounded as though the President was saying that maybe it’s time to freshen things up a little bit?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think Andy Card talked about that when he announced his resignation. And that’s something that he and Andy had talked about, that it was a time for a change. And the President agreed with Andy’s assessment.

Q But the President today seemed to be suggesting that the changes could include, as said, crisper information?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, what we want to do is build upon what we have accomplished, and continue to focus on getting things done for the American people. And that’s what the President was talking about in his remarks.

Go ahead.

There’s more Obsession below, click Read More.

From Holden:

Q I know you don’t discuss personnel matters, but there are growing reports/rumors by my brethren that Scott McClellan is going to ride off into the sunset, specifically a story in The Washington Post this morning saying that Scott McClellan is going to leave and be replaced by Dan Senor. As though you were under oath —

MR. McCLELLAN: Must have missed that story.

Q — as though you were under oath, can you give us a simple “yes” or “no” answer? Is the story correct?

Q Was that in the The Washington Post?

Q No. (Laughter.)

MR. McCLELLAN: I missed that story. I didn’t see that one in The Washington Post.

Q But what’s your comment?

MR. McCLELLAN: I appreciate the question, and as I’ve said, I never speculate on personnel matters. Period. Go ahead.

Scottie sez the President has no regrets about Tom DeLay’s departure.

Q Scott, Tom DeLay is, perhaps, more than any single member of Congress responsible for the President’s successes on Capitol Hill. Does the President regret at this point that he’s resigning?

MR. McCLELLAN: The President respects his decision. This was a decision that Congressman DeLay made for the reasons that he stated earlier.


There’s a tendency of people to talk about some of the side issues, but let’s look at the results, let’s look at the facts. There has been great progress made over the last few years when it comes to strengthening our economy and when it comes to winning the war on terrorism. And we look forward to talking about how we can continue to move forward and build upon that great progress we’ve made on behalf of the American people.

Q But speaking about — talking about side issues, my question was, does the President have any regret at this point that this man is leaving? I haven’t heard anyone say that he should stay, or that —

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the President talked about how he recognizes it was a very difficult decision, but the decision has been made, and now it’s time to move forward and continue working with congressional leaders to build upon our record.

Q Okay, so no regret. And also on Snow, when the President was asked —

MR. McCLELLAN: I don’t think he looks at it that way, Keith. That’s what I’m trying to tell you. Maybe you didn’t hear.

Q Okay. No, I heard.


Q Scott, Britain’s Daily Telegraph has reported that the government over there held secret talks yesterday with defense chiefs to discuss a possible targeted strike against Iran, and the strike would be American-led if, in fact, Iran were to snub the United Nations. Can you tell us if any similar talks have been held here —

MR. McCLELLAN: I don’t know about those reports. I haven’t seen them.

Q Has the President discussed such a possible strike with —

MR. McCLELLAN: What we’re trying to do is achieve a diplomatic solution to the nuclear issue with regards to Iran. That’s why we’re working with the international community.


Q If the President had held talks with Mr. Blair, would you tell us if we asked?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the President speaks with Prime Minister Blair on a frequent basis. They speak on a weekly or biweekly basis. We don’t get into reading out those discussions. I don’t know anything about this report, Victoria.

And now, Your Daily Les.

Q Scott, I have a two-part question. (Laughter.) As the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, the President fully supports the White House’s Uniformed Secret Service and the U.S. Capitol Police when they do their duty to protect him and members of Congress, doesn’t he?

MR. McCLELLAN: I’m sorry? Are you bringing up — are you bringing up an issue over at the Capitol?

Q Yes —

MR. McCLELLAN: Regarding Capitol Police?

Q Yes, that’s —

MR. McCLELLAN: I think direct those questions to the Capitol Police.

Q Well, no, I want to ask you a question, if I may. Since there have been so many public statements made in support of Congresswoman McKinney’s apparent defiance and cell phone slugging of a Capitol Police Officer who tried to stop her from entering the Capitol when she was wearing no security badge, how long will the President keep silent when this Congresswoman has already held two press conferences, one of which did not allow the media to ask any questions —

MR. McCLELLAN: It’s a legal matter; we’ll leave it to the appropriate authorities. I have not discussed it with the President.

Q Doesn’t the President have any —

MR. McCLELLAN: What’s your second question?

Q That was the second one — (laughter) — have any statement on this? She’s making statements all the time. Surely the President —

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, Les, I just said that I’ve not discussed it with him. What’s your next question?

Q You have discussed it —

MR. McCLELLAN: Was that your second question? Roger, go ahead.