In today’sgaggle we learn that what’s required of a Democratic Senator is not required of a Republikkkkan Vice President…
Q Tony, last week the Vice President — when we went after the Vice President on exactly what he said, nobody said, I didn’t mean to say that. The Vice President didn’t say that.
MR. SNOW: No, but you said, what did you mean to say; why did you say it? And, again —
Q Haven’t had a clarification on it.
MR. SNOW: You did. The Vice President actually talked with reporters about it.
Q But basically, when you cited the Vice President before as an example, what he said last week about a dunk in the water, some human rights groups interpret that to mean, the Vice President — they interpret it that the Vice President was condoning water boarding and that he was condoning torture. The Vice President came out, spoke to reporters, and said, that’s absolutely not what I meant. He never apologized to anyone if they took it wrong, or anything like that. And you basically said, look, people took it the wrong way, he did not condone that. John Kerry is now saying, that’s not what I meant. Why won’t you take him at his word, like you wanted the Vice President —
MR. SNOW: I’ll tell you what I did, is I actually took the Vice President at his word and recited it verbatim.
Or a fatHolden racist talkradio host suffering from erectile disfunction.
Q Tony, two questions. First, we haven’t heard Rush Limbaugh apologize directly to Michael J. Fox, but the President has accepted his apology. Why is that acceptable and John Kerry’s comments today —
MR. SNOW: A couple of things: Number one, Rush Limbaugh is not the head of a political party, nor was he a former presidential nominee. The second thing he said, if I got it wrong, I apologize. That’s what he said, so he’s saying that if the facts were wrong —
Q The President sat for an interview with Rush Limbaugh today. Why hasn’t he called on Rush Limbaugh to make that same kind of apology to people who have Parkinson’s disease?
MR. SNOW: Because, again, he’s made the — Rush Limbaugh has made his comments — I love the diversion, but we’re talking about — there is a difference between — okay, the apology came. Rush has said, if I got it wrong, I apologize. So he’s asking — he’s saying if he got the statement of the facts wrong, he apologizes.
Chaos = Winning
Q There is a report in today’s New York Times that Central Command had drawn up an analysis showing that the U.S. and Iraq is one step closer to chaos — the situation in Iraq is one step closer to chaos. This was drawn up before the President said in his last press conference, “We are absolutely winning.” Was the President aware of this report saying Iraq is closer to chaos before he told the nation we’re winning?
MR. SNOW: I don’t think he was, but you know, what you’re probably not aware of is that these are done regularly, and that was a snapshot taken at the height of the Ramadan violence.
Q But just to be clear; what the commanders on the ground tell the President, “in the large picture, we are stepping closer to chaos,” he believes that can also be a picture of winning?
MR. SNOW: Yes, because — you know what the President understands — do you understand, Jessica —
Q “Closer to chaos” is the same as winning?
MR. SNOW: No, because what you have just done is you’ve attached your interpretation to a single chart. It doesn’t say devolving into chaos. And furthermore, I’ve just told you, since then, you’ve had a pretty dramatic reversal. Does this mean that now that you’ve had national sectarian incidents, casualty from sectarian violence, incidents of sectarian violence in Baghdad all down 23 percent, and the deaths and casualties down 41 percent, that you do a victory lap? No. It’s a war, Jessica, and sometimes things get worse, and what you do is you adjust to make sure that you win.
Question of the Day
Q I just want to go back to this, because you made two separate charges in this briefing. One is that Democrats don’t have a plan for Iraq. And then you said a moment ago that they don’t have a plan for victory. So if the standard is a plan for victory, nearly every public measurement of — every measurement of public opinion in this country indicates that the public doesn’t believe the President has a plan for victory. And the reality is that whether it’s partition, whether it’s phased troop withdrawal, or troop withdrawal begins by the end of this year, this is an either strategic or tactical suggestion, based on how you define it so we don’t have to define it here — but it’s about salvaging the policy. So, what I’m getting at is, how can you have it both ways?
Your Daily Les
Q Yesterday you told us you would be speaking at the Michael Steele U.S. Senate Campaign in Maryland, which I subsequently learned is scheduled tonight at 6 p.m., “somewhere in Potomac,” with no address available because it is barred to media, this in the last week of the campaign. And my question: Why are you, as a wonderfully available and receptive presidential press secretary, participating in this censored-from-all-media event in one of the 13 original states which voted for freedom of press?
MR. SNOW: You know, remember the statement, Les, a man’s home is his castle? Apparently you wish to storm the castle.