Curious as to why Chimpy’s come-to-Jeebus meeting with Iraqi PM Nouri al Maliki was cancelled today?Dan Bartlett is here to set you straight.
You see, Maliki already had a two-way with King Abdullah, and Abdullah already had a two-way with Chimpy, so there is no need for Chimpy, Abdullah and Maliki to have a three-way. Got it?
MR. BARTLETT: The President is going to have a bilateral and dinner with the King of Jordan. Since the King of Jordan and Prime Minister Maliki had a bilateral themselves, earlier today, everybody believed that negated the purpose for the three of them to meet tonight, together, in a trilateral setting. So the plan, according to — since they had such a good, productive bilateral discussion, was just for the President to deal with bilateral issues and other issues with the King this evening in a dinner setting, and then the meetings set for tomorrow will still take place as scheduled.
Well that explains everything quite clearly.
Q So the dinner is off, the three-way.
MR. BARTLETT: Right.
Q Well if Maliki — he was never going to the dinner anyway, right? It was just supposed to be a meeting.
MR. BARTLETT: There was going to be a trilateral meeting, and then the dinner with the King. Now, since they already had a bilateral themselves, the King of Jordan and the Prime Minister, everybody felt, well, there’s no reason for them to do a trilateral meeting beforehand, because matters had been discussed.
Q So the scheduled trilateral is scrapped.
MR. BARTLETT: Right.
Q But the dinner — all three of them are still going to be at the dinner?
MR. BARTLETT: No.
Q Okay so Maliki is not doing anything?
MR. BARTLETT: The President will see Prime Minister Maliki in the morning.
Rest assured this has nothing to do with the memo leaked to the NYTimes today by a “senior administration official” [cough – Cheney – cough] authored by NSA Steve Hadley that said Maliki doesn’t know his ass from his elbow.
Q No connection to the memo, whatsoever?
MR. BARTLETT: No.
The traveling press corps is confused, to say the least.
Q The King and the Prime Minister had a meeting, but the Prime Minister hasn’t seen the President since he got here, and the President changed his schedule to come here for this meeting.
MR. BARTLETT: The President requested the meeting. This was the President requesting the meeting with the Prime Minister. And the substantive meetings on Iraq — look, they were not going to be doing a full detail discussion in a trilateral setting about Iraq and the future of Iraq and the strategy anyway, that just wouldn’t be appropriate. So it was going to be more of a social meeting anyways. But the fact that they had already had a good meeting together, felt like it negated the purpose to doing so. And the President and Prime Minister Maliki will have a very robust and lengthy dialogue tomorrow morning.
Q Is there going to be a readout afterwards?
MR. BARTLETT: Tomorrow?
Q No, tonight.
MR. BARTLETT: There’s not a meeting tonight.
Q There’s not a readout for us?
MR. BARTLETT: For the King of Jordan?
Q Has it changed because Maliki is not part of the meeting?
MR. BARTLETT: I’ll need to check on that, whether you want a readout of the bilateral conversation between the King and the President?
Q Originally we were told it would be a readout by Elliot Abrams afterwards, but then it was a three-way meeting.
MR. BARTLETT: We’ll look into it, we’ll look into the need for that.
Q They’re having a two-way meeting now, and then they’re having dinner.
MR. BARTLETT: Correct.
Q Two events.
MR. BARTLETT: Both with just the President and the King, and their respective staffs.
Q Are they just meeting right now, just between the President and the King, or are there other people?
MR. BARTLETT: Secretary Rice and Steve Hadley are the two representatives from the United States government, and then two representatives to the King are there. And then the dinner will be a little bit — a few more people will be added to that dinner.
Q Are you going to dinner?
MR. BARTLETT: I didn’t make the cut.
Heckuva job, Chimpy!