Your President Speaks!

From Holden:

Chimpy held a little post-Iraq photo-op press conference this morning.

Is he talking about Haditha here?

This is a tough struggle, and the reason why is because the rules of warfare as we used to know them are out the window. I mean, there’s no rule of warfare.

Abu Ghraib Incoherence

You mentioned Abu Ghraib. No question, it’s set a terrible example. I was asked at a press conference in the East Room with Tony Blair, mistakes. Abu Ghraib was a terrible mistake. I was asked that question, by the way, about Abu — very same question you asked by a member of the Iraqi cabinet. And I told her, I said that where there’s allegations, we will investigate.

A Catch-Phrase Is Not A Policy

Our policy is stand up/stand down; as the Iraqis stand up, we’ll stand down. But if we stand down too soon, it won’t enable us to achieve our objectives.


Gregory, fine-looking scarf — not scarf, what do you call that thing?

Q Thank you, very much.

THE PRESIDENT: It’s strong.

Your President continues, Read More!

From Holden:

The Outside Community

Q Mr. President, you’ve made a public point recently of soliciting outside advice about the way forward in Iraq and retooling your strategy. I wonder, what idea from a critic or somebody outside your administration that you’ve concluded should be part of the strategy going forward?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think — I’ve gotten a lot of advice from people. You know, one of the interesting debates from the outside community is troop levels. I’ve got people who say, you need to increase the number of forces — now. I’ve gotten people that said, well, the role of the United States ought to be more indirect than it has been, in other words, in a supporting role. To those folks, I say, look, I’m going to rely upon General Casey. But I did share with him the philosophies that were reflected in a conversation we had over lunch at Camp David.

The Ongoing Investigation Is Now An Ongoing Trial

Q Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. President, when you ran for office for the first time, you said you would hold the White House to a higher ethical standard. Even if Karl Rove did nothing illegal, I wonder whether you can say now whether you approve of his conduct in the CIA leak episode, and do you believe he owes Scott McClellan or anyone else an apology for misleading them?

THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate the job that the prosecutor did. I thought he conducted himself well in this investigation. He took a very thorough, long look at allegations and rumors. And I, obviously, along with others in the White House, took a sigh of relief when he made the decision he made. And now we’re going to move forward. And I trust Karl Rove, and he’s an integral part of my team.

There’s an ongoing trial, Peter, and I know the temptation is — not the temptation, you’ll keep asking questions during the course of the trial — we’re not going to comment beyond that.


Q Following up on the other Peter’s question about Karl Rove, you said that you were relieved with what happened yesterday. But the American public, over the course of this investigation, has learned a lot about what was going on in your White House that they didn’t know before, during that time, the way some people were trying to go after Joe Wilson, in some ways. I’m wondering if, over the course of this investigation, that you have learned anything that you didn’t know before about what was going on in your administration. And do you have any work to do to rebuild credibility that might have been lost?

THE PRESIDENT: I think that — first of all, the decision by the prosecutor speaks for itself. He had a full investigation. Karl Rove went in front of the grand jury like — I don’t — a lot of times. More times than — they took a hard look at his role.

Secondly, as I told the other Peter, I’m going to tell you, that there’s an ongoing trial, it’s a serious business. And I’ve made the comments I’m going to make about this incident, and I’m going to put this part of the situation behind us and move forward.

Drunk When He Said It

Q Is the tide turning in Iraq?

THE PRESIDENT: I think — tide turning — see, as I remember — I was raised in the desert, but tides kind of — it’s easy to see a tide turn — did I say those words?

Q (Inaudible) —

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I probably ought to then reflect on those words and think that — I sense something different happening in Iraq. The progress will be steady toward a goal that has clearly been defined. In other words, I hope there’s not an expectation from people that, all of a sudden, there’s going to be zero violence — in other words, it’s just not going to be the case. On the other hand, I do think we’ll be able to measure progress. You can measure progress in capacity of Iraqi units. You can measure progress in megawatts of electricity delivered. You can measure progress in terms of oil sold on the market on behalf of the Iraqi people. There’s ways to determine whether or not this government’s plans are succeeding.

I Ain’t A-Sceered of Him!

Q Thank you, Mr. President. What kind of signal do you think it sends to the Iraqi people that your administration notified the leader of Iraq’s sovereign government only five minutes beforehand of your arrival? And was there a specific security concern about either Prime Minister Maliki’s inner circle or others that led you to make that decision?

THE PRESIDENT: No, I think — look, it’s a security concern because I’m a high-value target for some. And Iraq is a dangerous place. The American people have got to know that I will take precautions when I travel somewhere. I’m not going to put our government at risk to achieve a very important trip. And, therefore, we were — a lot of people didn’t know about it. Half my Cabinet didn’t know about it. Does that mean I’m going to run them off? No. I just — we want to make sure we’re extra secret about this deal. And the reason why is Iraq is dangerous. It’s a dangerous place. And I think if there was ample notification that I was coming, perhaps it would have given somebody a chance to plan, and we just didn’t want to take that risk.

There is no question about Prime Minister Maliki’s — when he walked in, I never — I didn’t fear. I was happy to see him, and he was happy to see me. But you should expect the President to be — to take precaution — I take precaution when I go somewhere here in the United States. Obviously, not to that extent, but nevertheless, we’re careful. And that’s what the people expect, us to be careful.

Degree In History, But That Doesn’t Mean He Studied It

Q Thank you, Mr. President. Yesterday while you were gone, Senator Kerry, who was your challenger in the last election —

THE PRESIDENT: I remember that.

Q You remember that. (Laughter.) He said he now regrets his votes on the war. And, actually, I think Senator Clinton at the same meeting, actually heard some boos when she said that she did not support a timetable for withdrawal. Do you see, as some of your critics do, a parallel between what’s going on in Iraq now and Vietnam?


Q Why?

THE PRESIDENT: Because there’s a duly-elected government; 12 million people voted.

Does Not Know The Meaning Of The Word Majority

Q Mr. President, the death of Zarqawi and the formation of the new government in Iraq has given you a chance to re-engage the American people on Iraq. A majority of the people still say that the war was a mistake. Do you think that the people have turned off on Iraq? Or do you think they’re still winnable back, to consider it was worth it?

THE PRESIDENT: I think the people want to know, can we win? That’s what they want to know. Listen, admittedly, there are a group of people in our country that say, it wasn’t worth it, get out now. And that opinion is being expressed. As these campaigns start approaching you’ll hear more people say, I suspect, it’s a mistake, Bush shouldn’t have done what he did, pull out. And that’s a legitimate debate to have in America, and I look forward to the debate. I will remind the America people if we pull out before we achieve our objective, the world will be a lot more dangerous and America will be more at risk.