Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

Little Scottie lead today’s gaggle with a none-too-subtle hint that he’s outta here.

Q Scott, you’re one of those visible members of the President’s senior staff. Do you plan to stay on?

MR. McCLELLAN: Are you trying to tempt me here?

Q Not at all.

MR. McCLELLAN: Look, I never speculate about personnel matters.

Q “Personnel” or “personal” or both?

MR. McCLELLAN: Two years in this position is a long time, I’m very mindful of that.</b But, look, I never get into any of that speculation.

Obsession continues, click Read More…

From Holden:

So much for the appetizer, let’s get to the main course.

Q Scott, I want to ask you about the National Intelligence Council report that came to the White House in January of 2003, that essentially said the Niger uranium claims were baseless. In view of that report, how did the uranium claim make its way to the State of the Union Address, subsequently?

MR. McCLELLAN: I don’t know how many times we’ve been over that. I think we went over that back in July of 2003 and we talked about that. So I would encourage you to look back at the briefing that was provided to you all in this room.

In terms of the intelligence, we have said multiple times that the intelligence was wrong. That’s why the President asked the Robb-Silberman Commission, an independent bipartisan commission, to take a look at all the intelligence in the lead up to the decision to go into Iraq. It was intelligence that was shared with members of Congress, it was intelligence that was very similar to what nations across the world believed, and it’s intelligence that the United Nations —

Q Well, who got the intelligence here?

MR. McCLELLAN: What’s important now is that we make sure we move forward in implementing the reforms that were recommended by the Robb-Silberman Commission. We have done that.

Q But can I ask how you got the intelligence here?

MR. McCLELLAN: Hang on. We put in place a Director of National Intelligence. We have restructured the intelligence community under his leadership — Ambassador Negroponte. And so there are a number of steps we continue to move forward on to make sure that the President has the best possible intelligence, and to make sure that Congress has the best possible intelligence, because there are many threats we face in this day and age and we need to make sure that those threats are being met in the best possible way.

Q I just want, for the record, who received the intelligence report here?

MR. McCLELLAN: Who received which intelligence report?

Q The January, 2003 National Intelligence Council report.

MR. McCLELLAN: I’ll have to go back and look and get you that information. I assume it went to the National Security Council.

Looks like one of the gagglers read Jason Leopold’s latest Plame sccop.

Q Scott, in early June 2003, did Vice President Cheney tell President Bush that CIA Officer Valerie Plame was the wife of Joseph Wilson?

MR. McCLELLAN: You know that — and I wouldn’t read anything into this one way or the other — you know that I can’t get into talking about this matter. It’s an ongoing legal proceeding at this point. And we’ve had a policy in place for a long time. I appreciate you asking the question, but I know that you have heard me say we’re not going to get into discussing an ongoing legal proceeding.

Avoiding the Chimp.

Q Has Prime Minister Tony Blair cancelled an upcoming trip with the U.S.?

MR. McCLELLAN: We haven’t made any announcements on any trips by Prime Minister Blair.

Q Well, that’s why I’m asking. Has he cancelled —

MR. McCLELLAN: I don’t have anything to add to what I just said. I mean, we haven’t announced any trip that he was making to the United States.

That les Kinsolving. He never fails to entertain. Here is today’s Daily Les.

Q And since this morning’s annual White House Easter Egg Roll welcomed everybody, including those wearing rainbow leis promoting their sexual orientation, will next year’s event include all sexual orientations, including those wearing arm bands proclaiming that pain is pleasure, or not?

MR. McCLELLAN: Les, the Easter Egg Roll is a very happy tradition at the White House that dates back to 1878. It is a time for families, and we welcome all families and their children who want to come and participate in the —

Q All orientations —

MR. McCLELLAN: — Easter Egg Roll.

Q But my question was “all orientations.”

MR. McCLELLAN: And you got a response to your question.

Q But that wasn’t a response.

MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead. Roger, go ahead.

[Another gaggle asks about the change in procedure for this year’s event.]

Q Scott, on the egg roll, why did the first people in line not get tickets for the first entry to the grounds this morning?

MR. McCLELLAN: I’m sorry?

Q Why did the first people in line for the egg roll tickets not get tickets granting them entry for the first —

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think you’ve covered the egg roll probably the last few years, and one of the things that we have started a tradition of is designating some time for special groups to come and participate in the Easter Egg Roll. Go back to May of — or go back to 2003; I think we set aside time for military families and their children to participate in the egg roll. And this year there’s a special group that we set aside the morning time for. That group included youth volunteers — volunteers with Big Brothers, Big Sisters; volunteers with organizations like 4-H, Campfire USA, Citizen Corps, YMCA, and Youth Service America. So that morning time was set aside for those groups.

[Les, obsessed with the “pain is pleasure crowd”, chimes in.]

Q What about the ones with the arm bands?

MR. McCLELLAN: You’ve already had your two questions. (Laughter.)