Your President Speaks!

From Holden:

At his Chicago Presser.

Either He Does Not Understand or is Deliberately Misinterpreting Hamdan v. Rumsfeld

Q I’d like to ask you to speak on the broad implications of that recent Supreme Court case — not the specifics of the case. But the justices said that you overreached your authority. And your critics have been saying that, too. Given your support and respect for the Court, are you willing to rethink how you use your presidential authority?

THE PRESIDENT: I am willing to abide by the ruling of the Supreme Court. And the Supreme Court said that in this particular case when it comes to dealing with illegal combatants, who were picked up off a battlefield and put in Guantanamo for the sake of our security, that we should work with the United States Congress to develop a way forward. They didn’t we couldn’t have done — made that decision, see. They were silent on whether or not Guantanamo — whether or not we should have used Guantanamo. In other words, they accepted the use of Guantanamo, the decision I made. What they did say was, in terms of going forward, what should the court system look like? How can we use a military commission or tribunal?


These are the types of combatants we have never faced before. They don’t wear uniforms and they don’t represent a nation state. They’re bound by an ideology. They swore allegiance to individuals, but not to a nation. The Geneva conventions were set up to deal with armies of nation states. You’ve got standard rules of war.

So this is new ground. This is different than any President has been through before, in terms of how to deal with these kind of people that you’re picking up off a battlefield and trying to protect the American people from.

Justice Stephens’ majority opinion clearly stated that the rights of Hamdan and the other detainees are protected by the Geneva Conventions, a point that Justice Kennedy also emphasized. To claim that the detainees “don’t wear uniforms and they don’t represent a nation state” and that the “Geneva conventions were set up to deal with armies of nation states” is to violate the ruling of the Supreme Court.

Your President continues, Read More…

From Holden:

Everybody Hates Him

Q An aide to Judy Topinka was quoted as saying that given your low approval ratings in the polls, they prefer you to come here in the middle of the night.

THE PRESIDENT: Didn’t work. I’m coming to have lunch.

Q I’m wondering if you’re offended by those remarks, and whether or not you think your presence may actually harm Republican candidates when you come out to campaign for them.

THE PRESIDENT: I’m not offended. Personally, I think — am I offended that you read the person’s remarks to me? No, I’m not offended that you were reading that at all, nor am I offended at what the person said. The first I’ve heard it was just then. And I’m coming to lunch. I think it’s going to be a pretty successful fundraiser. And I — we will hold the House and the Senate. And I’ve spent a lot of time on the road. I like campaigning, and I’m proud she invited me.

Diplomatic Lies

Q Mr. President, a lot of people here in Chicago tell us that they see an incongruity in your foreign policy. We’re involved in a shooting war in Iraq; yet we have a leader in North Korea who has announced his affection for nuclear weapons and no hesitation to use them against the United States. Is your policy consistent between the way you have dealt with Iraq and the way you have dealt with North Korea? And if so, are we headed toward a military action in North Korea? And if so, can this nation sustain military action on three fronts — Iraq, Afghanistan and North Korea?

THE PRESIDENT: I have always said that it’s important for an American President to exhaust all diplomatic avenues before the use of force.


All diplomatic options were exhausted, as far as I was concerned, with Saddam Hussein. Remember that the U.N. Security Council resolution that we passed when I was the President was one of 16, I think — 16, 17? Give me a hand here. More than 15. Resolution after resolution after resolution saying the same thing, and he ignored them. And we tried diplomacy. We went to the U.N. Security Council — 15-to-nothing vote that said, disarm, disclose or face serious consequences.


And so the choice was Saddam Hussein’s choice. He could have not fooled the inspectors. He could have welcomed the world in. He could have told us what was going on. But he didn’t. And so we moved.

That’s not the way I remember it. As I recall the Bush Assministration did not allow a final UN vote on Iraq to take place because they knew they would lose. Saddam did not “fool the inspectors”, he let them in and they found no weapons. He did indeed tell “us what was going on” in a lenghty report that US officials distorted or hid from other member states.

Next, Chimpy Gets Cranky

Q Do you believe the United States —

THE PRESIDENT: I don’t accept that hypothetical question. You’re asking me a hypothetical. What I believe is we can solve the problem diplomatically.

Let’s see here — Brett.

Q Mr. President, if the EU does not receive a definitive answer from Iran on the incentives package by next week, do you foresee the G8 summit as being a springboard to bring that issue to the U.N. Security Council? And what do you say to Americans who are frustrated by the familiar roadblocks, it seems, of China and Russia on harsh sanctions?

THE PRESIDENT: I said I wasn’t going to answer a hypothetical; now you’re trying to get me to answer a hypothetical.

He Gets Even Testier When Questioned About His Complete Failure in Dealing With North Korea

Q Mr. President, if I could follow up, you say diplomacy takes time —

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, it does.

Q — but it was four years ago that you labeled North Korea a member of the “axis of evil.” And since then it’s increased its nuclear arsenal, it’s abandoned six-party talks and now these missile launches —

THE PRESIDENT: Let me ask you a question. It’s increased it’s — that’s an interesting statement: “North Korea has increased its nuclear arsenal.” Can you verify that?

Q Well, intelligence sources say — if you can — if you’d like to dispute that, that’s fine.

THE PRESIDENT: No, I’m not going to dispute, I’m just curious.

Q Our intelligence sources say that it’s increased the number — its nuclear capability —

THE PRESIDENT: — dangerous — it has potential danger.

Q It’s increased is nuclear capabilities. It’s abandoned six-party talks, and it’s launched these missiles.


Q Why shouldn’t Americans see the U.S. policy regarding North Korea as a failed one?

THE PRESIDENT: Because it takes time to get things done.

Q What objective has the U.S. government achieved when it comes to North Korea? And why does the administration continue to go back to the same platform process if it’s not effective in changing North Korea’s behavior? Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Suzanne, these problems didn’t arise overnight, and they don’t get solved overnight. It takes a while.


THE PRESIDENT: I just thought for a minute you might have known more than I do about — when you say, definitively say he’s increased the number of weapons. I don’t think we know that.

Q Maybe you know, but you’re not telling.

THE PRESIDENT: That’s an option. (Laughter.)


THE PRESIDENT: Maybe I don’t know and don’t want to tell you I don’t know. Anyway. (Laughter.)

Where’s Osama?

Q You said some time ago that you wanted Osama bin Laden dead or alive. You later regretted the formulation, but not the thought.

THE PRESIDENT: I regretted the formulation because my wife got on me for talking that way.

Q We suspected as much, sir. But the question I have — the question I have is, it appears that the CIA has disbanded the unit that was hunting him down. Is it no longer important to track him down?

THE PRESIDENT: It’s just an incorrect story. I mean, we got a — we got a lot of assets looking for Osama bin Laden. So whatever you want to read in that story, it’s just not true, period.

Chimpy Loves Him Some Crooks

Q Well, thank you, Mr. President. Last summer, when you were here to sign the transportation bill in Denny Hastert’s district, you described Mayor Daley as “a great Mayor.” If you’ve read the morning papers, you’ll find that Patrick Fitzgerald has secured the conviction of one of the Mayor’s top — former top officials for rigging city jobs to benefit the Mayor’s political workers. Does that change your assessment of Mayor Daley’s tenure?

THE PRESIDENT: I still think he’s a great Mayor. It is a well-run city, and he gets a lot of credit for it. He doesn’t get sole credit, but he gets a lot of credit. He’s a leader. The thing I like about Daley is he — when he tells you something, he means it. Like, he told me, he said, we’re going to whomp you in the 2000 election. He meant it. (Laughter.) He’s a — yes, I’m proud to call him, friend. I’m proud to have shared my 60th birthday with your Mayor.