Today’sgaggle opens with Pony Blow doing his best to belittle this weekend’s peace march.
Q What did the President think of the march on Washington?
MR. SNOW: I don’t think he really thought a lot about it. It’s nice to see Jane Fonda in front of the camera again. There are a number of people who were here making statements, and that’s perfectly appropriate. This is a vigorous democracy.
Q You said something earlier this morning, though. Would you like to repeat that?
MR. SNOW: It’s simply that there were predictions of a larger audience than showed up for the protest.
Q And you really counted heads?
MR. SNOW: No. Did you? Did you see 100,000?
Q Don’t you think we had a good turnout?
MR. SNOW: Honestly, I didn’t go there, Helen, so I’m not going to characterize.
Q How do you make a statement like that?
MR. SNOW: Well, because it’s pretty clear from the press accounts that nobody attached six figures to the number who appeared.
“Slow Failure” = “Success”
Q I want to ask you about the mixed messages that NPR pointed out during an interview with the President — that the Vice President has been quoted as saying there’s a lot of success in Iraq; the President has said there’s not been enough success in Iraq, and that he doesn’t approve of what’s going on, either. How do you explain this disconnect and the kind of —
MR. SNOW: I see it less a disconnect as two different ways of looking at it.
Q But when the President says that his Vice President is a glass half full kind of guy, might that be more charitable than others would allow, and they might think, no, when the Vice President talks about things going so swimmingly, that he’s out of touch with what’s going on?
MR. SNOW: You mean others are more critical of the Vice President than the President may be?
MR. SNOW: Well, the Vice President does have a lot of critics.
Q Well, right, but the point is that, whether these are Republican critics or Democratic critics, the idea to — when the President says he’s a glass half full kind of guy, he’s not being a little bit charitable, I guess?
MR. SNOW: No, I don’t think so. Again, I think there are two ways you look at it. You can take a look at what happens — it’s important — everybody says, we support the troops, and everybody praises the troops. Well, then acknowledge what they do. And when they do have conflicts in the field, they do succeed.
Q But to follow this, are the President and the Vice President — can we characterize them as being on the same page with their read on Iraq?
MR. SNOW: Yes.
Q And the Vice President’s comments reflect the administration’s thinking?
MR. SNOW: Both the President and the Vice President — again, you can take a look at this in two ways, Jim. If you take a look in terms of specific military engagements, you can point to successes.
War Crimes? Na Gonna Go There
Q Is the President concerned that Israel may have used U.S. cluster bombs in South Lebanon, according to preliminary findings of the State Department?
MR. SNOW: What we’re doing is — I would encourage you to call the State Department about that. That’s in their bailiwick, and they’ll have a better answer for you.
Let’s Just Say The White House Toilets Are Full Of Bricks
Q How closely is the President following the Libby trial?
MR. SNOW: Not that closely really. I know there’s this perception that we’re all sitting around buzzing about it, but we really aren’t.
Q Well, I mean, you’ve got Rove and Bartlett both subpoenaed, and you’ve got the Vice President testifying. I would think there would be some interest in the White House.
MR. SNOW: Yes, but it’s just — look, it is what it is, it’s an ongoing trial, and we’re not going to comment on it further.
Q What is the President’s response to seeing the White House portrayed as being at war with itself?
MR. SNOW: Well, again, as I said, as tempting as it is to jump into that, we’re not commenting.
Your Daily Les Newsflash: Kinsolving Is Still A Tool
Q Thank you, Tony. Two questions. To the President’s knowledge, has the United States Senate ever before voted to confirm appointment of a combat commanding general, like General Petraeus, and then voted to condemn the mission that he will lead in what would be an astounding hypocrisy?
MR. SNOW: Well, I am not — I don’t think that the people who are discussing resolutions would characterize them in that manner, and nothing has been passed yet.
Q No, of course not, because they’re engaged in the hypocrisy. But isn’t it hypocrisy?
MR. SNOW: Well, thank you — thank you for the editorial comment. Let’s go to question number two.
Q The Hill newspaper on Capitol Hill reports that Jane Fonda’s fellow anti-war protesters were allowed to spray paint on part of the west front steps of the U.S. Capitol building on Saturday after U.S. Capitol Police were ordered by Chief Phillip Morse to fall back, after which 300 protestors spray painted, “Our Capitol building and you can’t stop us.”
And my question, does the executive branch believe the legislative branch should have allowed this treatment of the Capitol building of the United States?
MR. SNOW: Well, Les, what you’re doing is — I would encourage you, or all others interested, to call the Capitol Police and find out how this came to pass. I just — I can’t answer it.
Q Yes, one wonders what does the President — he must have an opinion of this? Doesn’t he? (Laughter.)