Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

A thousand thanks to Josh Micah’s TPMMuckraker for posting today’s gaggle transcript.

And….. OH MY GOD, what a complete disaster! Pony Blow is worse than I imagined.

Fuck-Up #1: He changed the start time for the gaggle, then did not stick to the new schedule. And he held the gaggle in a room that was too small.

QUESTION: I’d like — this was 9:00 a.m., then it was pushed back to 9:30 a.m., and then I walk in at 9:20 a.m., and it’s already well underway.

QUESTION: Do not do that again.

QUESTION: This isn’t good.

TONY SNOW: Well, this is — it’s my fault. And it had to do with vagaries of the schedule today, and I apologize, period.

QUESTION: Because we’ve missed half of it. This is the first one you’re doing, and I just feel like —

TONY SNOW: Well, I apologize. That’s just flat my fault.

QUESTION: Can everybody get a gaggle — can everyone get a gaggle emailed to them?

QUESTION: Can we get a transcript?

TONY SNOW: Yes. And what we will try to do, I will make this a lot more predictable and regular, you’ve got to give me a little forbearance.

QUESTION: I was here, sitting out here in the hallway. I can’t even hear any of this conversation.

Fuck-Up #2: He tries to communicate the Assministration’s complete support for Alphonso Jackson and winds up casting doubt on the continuation of Jackson’s tenure at HUD.

QUESTION: Is he going to fire the HUD Secretary?

TONY SNOW: No. He stands behind Alphonso Jackson. Alphonso Jackson has admitted that what he said earlier was improper, that it was a mistake, and the President accepts that and still supports a man with whom he’s had a long and close relationship.

QUESTION: Have they talked, do you know?

TONY SNOW: I do not know. I think they have, but I don’t know. I don’t want to mislead you on that. I don’t know.

QUESTION: So you’re not waiting for the Inspector General’s investigation, you’re just saying blanket, he’s not going to ask Alphonso to go?

TONY SNOW: Well, at this point the President is supporting Alphonso Jackson.

QUESTION: “At this point”?

TONY SNOW: Look, again, you’re getting me ahead of my brief. I don’t know any more than I’ve told you.

The fun continues, Read More!

From Holden:

Fuck-Up #3: He tries to stick to the Assministration’s “neither confirm or deny” strategy on the USA Today NSA snooping story and completely muffs it.

QUESTION: The data mining, how serious is that a threat to our security policy, and the call for hearings?

TONY SNOW: Well, as you know, our hands are tied on talking about any operational details. The President has already said it is not data mining or trolling, I believe is the phrase he used yesterday.

QUESTION: Are you denying the story?

TONY SNOW: You can’t — you know, Helen, you can’t confirm or deny when you’re dealing with matters of classification.

QUESTION: It’s not —

TONY SNOW: Because you can’t — it’s one of those things where traditionally when allegations of this sort arise, sometimes in the process of answering the question you also end up revealing secrets, so it’s just —

QUESTION: The President did so in December. He came flat out and acknowledged that he authorized —

TONY SNOW: Well, in this particular case, again, we’re neither confirming or denying the existence of the program. The President was pretty clear –I mean, I’ll just — this is where I will reiterate the points he made yesterday, which is number one, we don’t listen to domestic phone calls without court approval. You have all reported that, that the allegations in USA Today have nothing to do with listening in.

Secondly, that the intelligence activities are lawful, and appropriate members on Capitol Hill have been briefed on the topic. You also know that. And that the privacy of ordinary Americans is fiercely protected.

QUESTION: So you are denying —


QUESTION: What are you really telling us? Are you saying the stories are untrue that we’ve been reading for a couple of days concerning data mining?

TONY SNOW: I’m telling you that I can’t comment on the details of the stories.

Fuck-Up #4: He has no idea that the White House records and later transcribes the gaggle.

QUESTION: Different subject. Four lawmakers, senior lawmakers say that they sent a letter to President Bush on Russian WTO negotiations — opposing, basically, Russia’s entry. Are you aware of that?

TONY SNOW: No, and I will apologize as the new kid on the block. I am certainly not going to get myself into — for today, I’m not going to handle international issues or currency issues. I do not wish to set off global tempests — (laughter) — because I, frankly, just don’t know enough on those. I will be happy to get back to you.

As a matter of fact for gaggle purposes, if somebody can take notes on some of these things, I’ll try to get back to you on it. But I just don’t know the answer.

Not Really A Fuck-Up, But He Looks Stupid: He doesn’t know enough to answer a question, so he punts to Dana Peroxide. But the gagglers don’t want to hear Ms. Peroxide’s spin and they slam it back in her face.

QUESTION: Tony, what has the White House — what’s the White House position on this report that the Justice Department investigation into the NSA program was blocked because people couldn’t get security clearance? Was that —

TONY SNOW: Dana, I’m going to toss that to you, because you’ve got a better brief on that. You don’t mind if I do that, do you?

MS. PERINO: That’s fine. The Justice Department has spoken to their office of professional responsibility. I think that they put out a statement I think last night, or on Tuesday night, when it was first reported back.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MS. PERINO: Excuse me?


. QUESTION: We can’t hear any of the discussion.

TONY SNOW: I’ll tell you what, I’ll speak up. You’ll forgive me, but I’ll just — I will do the talking points on this because, again, as the new kid on the block, I’m not fully briefed into everything, but here it is.


QUESTION: Is there some effort to say — this is highly unusual, that these people wouldn’t be granted security clearance —

TONY SNOW: I’m not going to — as a lawyer, I’m not going to argue with legal experts.

MS. PERINO: There’s a very limited number of people who are fully briefed on that program.

QUESTION: We’re not asking you — isn’t it peculiar that Justice Department lawyers cannot get security clearance to look into the NSA?

TONY SNOW: Honestly, I can’t answer the question.


TONY SNOW: Because I don’t know enough about it.

QUESTION: Can you find out?

Best Question/Worst Answer of the Day

QUESTION: How are you going to make this administration more credible?

TONY SNOW: I’m not going to answer questions about credibility, other than to say that I’m eager to be here and I’m happy to be working with you.

Freudian Slip Of The Day

QUESTION: Are you ever going to — always going to tell the truth?


Oh, shit. I need a cigarette.