Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

Jeebus, what is Little Scottie doing in the James S. Brady Briefing Room a full week after he was fired announced his resignation? Other than being beaten about the head and shoulders with Chimpy’s stuffed codpiece, I mean.

Q Scott, given the current situation in Iraq, what the President described today as “havoc” —

MR. McCLELLAN: As what?

Q Havoc, he used the word havoc today, could he, would he possibly stand under a sign that says “Mission Accomplished” today as he did three years ago?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, Peter, I think that there are some Democrats that refuse to recognize the important milestone achieved by the formation of a national unity government. And there is an effort simply to distract attention away from the real progress that is being made by misrepresenting and distorting the past. And that really does nothing to help advance our goal of achieving victory in Iraq.

Q Scott, simple yes or no question, could the President stand under a sign that says —

MR. McCLELLAN: No, see, this is — this is a way that —

Q It has nothing to do with Democrats.

MR. McCLELLAN: Sure it does.

Q I’m asking you, based on a reporter’s curiosity, could he stand under a sign again that says, “Mission Accomplished”?

MR. McCLELLAN: Now, Peter, Democrats have tried to raise this issue, and, like I said, misrepresenting and distorting the past —

Q This is not —

MR. McCLELLAN: — which is what they’re doing, does nothing to advance the goal of victory in Iraq.

Q I mean, it’s a historical fact that we’re all taking notice of —

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think the focus ought to be on achieving victory in Iraq and the progress that’s being made, and that’s where it is. And you know exactly the Democrats are trying to distort the past.

Q Let me ask it another way: Has the mission been accomplished?

MR. McCLELLAN: Next question.

Q Has the mission been accomplished?

MR. McCLELLAN: We’re on the way to accomplishing the mission and achieving victory.

Whoooo-boy, more Scottie beating below. Click Read More…

From Holden:

The dancing around Iraq continues as Little Scottie has some trouble defining “victory”.

Q Scott, three years ago, the President said that major combat was over. At this point, how far does the administration think they are, or how close do they think they are to victory, what you would call victory in Iraq?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, Terry, we’re making real progress on our plan for victory. The President has outlined a clear plan for achieving victory in Iraq, and we should do everything we can to support our troops while they move forward on that plan for victory.


This is a real turning point for the Iraqi people and it begins, as the President said earlier today, a new chapter in our involvement in Iraq. And we’ll continue to adjust and adapt our tactics as we move forward, working with that new Iraqi government.

Q Can you characterize, though, sort of where you are in terms of achieving victory — near, far, halfway? I mean, just to get some idea of where —

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think that our leaders — our military leaders have talked about it; the President has talked about it. We are on the path to victory. We are winning in Iraq. But there is more work to do. There are difficult days that lie ahead. We have seen over the course of the past 60 days or so that there were some tough days in the aftermath of the bombing of the Golden Mosque. But then we saw Iraqi leaders come together and form a national unity government that represents all Iraqis.

And that’s an important development. And that’s a development that we should all pay attention to and we should all, in the international community, do everything we can to support the Iraqi leaders and the Iraqi people as they move forward. They are showing that they want to chart their own future.


Q Could we go back to Iraq? In the last three years, should — don’t the American people — shouldn’t they be somewhat skeptical when they hear a word like, turning point? Hasn’t — haven’t other things been portrayed as turning points?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, let’s look at the facts, Mark. The facts are that more than 250,000 Iraqi security forces are now trained and equipped. They’re taking more control of the battle space. There are more — they’re taking more and more of the lead in the fight. So that’s an important measurement to look at the progress that’s being made.


Q But is —

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, and I think you have to look — you also have to step back and look at what we’re engaged in in Iraq. This is a central front in the war on terrorism. It is vital that we prevail in Iraq. And we are winning. But there is more work to do, and we must continue to support the Iraqi people as they build a democratic and peaceful future.

Q There’s no danger that a phrase like that oversells the progress?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think it reflects the reality on the ground, that this was an important milestone that has been achieved by the Iraqi people. And it’s a significant development. It’s a real hopeful moment for democracy in Iraq…

Hey, there’s a Stephen Colbert fan in the house!

MR. McCLELLAN: Goyal, then Ed.

Q Scott, before my question, I just want to say that Saturday night WHCA dinner was the great and funniest one I have seen in my many, many years of attending this dinner.

MR. McCLELLAN: Glad you enjoyed it.

Class Warfare

Q Scott, when asked earlier this morning about Secretary Bodman’s comments on high gas prices, you said that high gas prices are a crisis for families trying to make ends meet. But that’s not exactly what he was saying. He was issuing a broader sense of the current energy situation in the country, and the suggestion that there’s a “energy crisis in America” is something that can alarm people across the country. Can you clarify exactly, does the President agree with his Energy Secretary that there is an energy crisis?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think it is, for families that are trying to live within a budget and facing higher gas prices.


Q I’m just confused about one point. If in fact there’s a crisis, isn’t it for the whole country? Are you suggesting that rich people don’t — it’s not a crisis for them, so they don’t have to conserve, or they don’t have to — why is there a difference — it’s only a crisis for families living on a budget?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, because of the reasons that I stated. We have a very strong economy, and an economy that is continuing to grow. We saw, in the first quarter of this year, 4.8 percent growth. That is a remarkable statistic. That shows that our economy is really surging ahead.

And now Your Daily Les.

Q Does the President agree with Israel’s Ehud Olmert and his description of Iran’s Ahmadinejad as “a psychopath of the worst kind, an anti-Semite who speaks today like Hitler?” And if he does not agree, why not?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, this is a leader of a regime that is moving in the wrong direction from the rest of the Middle East. We’ve been talking about the Middle East, and talking about Iraq. This is a regime that we have a lot of concerns with. And its President has made a number of outrageous and concerning statements, and we’ve expressed how that only further underscores our concern that we have about this regime having the know-how to develop nuclear weapons.

And that’s why this issue is an important priority we’re working to resolve diplomatically with our friends and partners in the international community.

Q So he agrees that this guy is a psychopath, right? Doesn’t he?

MR. McCLELLAN: He is a leader who has made some outrageous comments.

Q Psychopathic?

MR. McCLELLAN: And that should only serve to further underscore the concerns about this regime having nuclear weapons.

Go ahead.