Intoday’s gaggleVictoria Jones knows something Pony Blow Don’t Know.
Q One more, please. Can you confirm that Karl Rove received a copy of the Iranian proposal for negotiation sometime in early May, 2003?
MR. SNOW: I absolutely cannot. I know nothing about it.
Q Are you sure you know nothing about it?
MR. SNOW: I am sure that I know nothing about it. I will try to find out —
Q Can you find out about it?
MR. SNOW: I will try to find out.
Q Thank you.
MR. SNOW: Apparently you think you know something about it — (laughter) —
Q I do.
MR. SNOW: — so we’ll try to see what we can. All right.
Oh, my. This is going to be fun.
That Crazy John McCain Is Just Maverickin’ Again
Q John McCain is out there saying that Donald Rumsfeld may go down as one of the worst Defense Secretaries in history. Is that something you agree with? (Laughter.)
MR. SNOW: I think on this one —
Q The Vice President has called him one of the — if not, the best, I think.
MR. SNOW: Look, we think Donald Rumsfeld was an enormously consequential and effective Secretary of Defense, and somebody who led to the transformation of the Department of Defense. Senator McCain holds a different point of view. The thing that’s important to us right now is that Senator McCain is a strong supporter of the President’s position on the way forward in Iraq and somebody who has been an eloquent voice and a reliable leader on the issue, and we appreciate it.
Q Tony, could I just follow — do you chalk this up to election politics?
MR. SNOW: I’m not going to — I left the chalk at home. (Laughter.)
It Turns Out The Assministration Needs The Washington Post To Tell Them What They Are Doing
Q The administration’s mantra for a long time has been “support the troops.” What is the reaction, then, when you read this series of stories in The Washington Post about troops coming home from Iraq, Afghanistan and being treated so poorly, apparently, based on this long investigation? What’s the President’s reaction?
MR. SNOW: There are a couple of things. First, it’s not a mantra. I would really choose words carefully. It’s a commitment to support the troops. And the President, as you know, has visited the wounded many times at Walter Reed and we are concerned about it. And the people who —
Q Were you aware?
MR. SNOW: We are aware now, yes. And I would refer you to the Department of Defense, which I know is taking a very close look at it, too.
Q So you’re saying the President learned about this from The Washington Post?
MR. SNOW: I don’t know exactly where he learned it, but I can tell you that we believe that they deserve better. And, again, Ed, this is something where I’d suggest you give DoD a call, because I know they’ve taken a good, hard look at it.
Q So the President responded how when he learned about this? What, specifically — did he order something to be done?
MR. SNOW: What I’m suggesting — there’s a reason I’m suggesting — DoD is the proper place in which we’ll be taking care of these issues. And I would refer you to them for comment. But this is something that’s going to have to be an action item.
Q But is there any evidence that it was even looked at before the paper printed its two stories?
MR. SNOW: Yes.
Q Then tell us about that evidence.
MR. SNOW: That’s why — again, I would refer you, Bill, to the Department of the Army, which runs the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. This is the place where if you want to get —
Q That’s just an easy way for you not to have to talk about it.
Q You responded to me a moment ago that the administration was aware of this before the articles appeared in the paper.
MR. SNOW: That is my understanding. But, again, this is something that’s an action item over at the Department of Defense and, in particular, the Department of the Army. I am not fully briefed on the activities or who knew what, when. And I suggest —
Q Was the President aware of it? Was the White House aware of it?
MR. SNOW: I am not certain —
Q May I follow on —
Q What is the President’s —
MR. SNOW: — when we first became aware of it.*
Turns out Pony Blow lied when he said Chimpy knew about the problems at Walter Reed before the WaPo published the two articles. The asterisk tells the tale.
* The President first learned of the troubling allegations regarding Walter Reed from the stories this weekend in the Washington Post. He is deeply concerned and wants any problems identified and fixed.
News Flash: The Pentagon Has Been Removed From The Executive Branch
Q I think that’s part of the question. It doesn’t seem like — beyond what you know, it doesn’t seem like you’re asking that many questions to find out. I mean, you have a limited knowledge about the situation.
MR. SNOW: It’s because they’re working the issue, and I’m telling you, those are the people to talk to, the DoD.
Q — I mean, you keep putting me off on other people —
MR. SNOW: I know.
Q This is a commitment the President has made, you said, to the families, right?
MR. SNOW: Yes.
Q So why isn’t the President, why isn’t his staff saying, let’s get to the bottom of it now?
MR. SNOW: We are trying to get to the bottom of it, and the people who are responsible for getting to the bottom of it work on the other side of the river.
Q But, again, you put it back on the Pentagon, you’re not keeping —
MR. SNOW: Yes. The members of the Pentagon, of course, Cabinet agencies and people in the administration, do answer to the President. And I’ve said, what’s wrong needs to be fixed. Now the people that are going to do the fixing are over there. So you might want to talk to them.
Yowza – Pony Blow is called on his bullshit.
Q Tony, over the weekend you were asked by Wolf Blitzer, are you getting ready for war with Iran. And you replied, no, and furthermore I’m at a total loss to find any place where this administration has been trying to “create a run up with a war in Iran. It’s interesting to me that it seems that politicians maybe are trying to protect Iran.” Which politicians are trying to protect Iran?
MR. SNOW: Well, there’s a — without naming names, people continue to say, well, you must stop trying to wage war with Iran. Well, we’re not trying to do it, and it seems that they’re — it looks as if somebody is coming to the defense of somebody who is not under siege; that’s what I meant.
Q But you’re putting it out there, that some politicians are trying to protect Iran. Surely you have —
MR. SNOW: I think I said “it seems,” and I left it in general.
Q Who does it seem that’s trying to protect Iran?
MR. SNOW: Well, again, the one thing I’m doing is I’m responding to a general trend of argument rather than trying to pick fights.
Q But are there individuals that you have in mind?
MR. SNOW: Again, Victoria, I told you, I’m responding to particular arguments and I —
Q But, Tony, couldn’t that concern be about the United States, about deploying U.S. forces to a potential conflict with Iran, and not in the interest of protecting Iran?
MR. SNOW: Well, perhaps, but I don’t — what’s been interesting to us about the persistence of these stories is that the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Press Secretary, on, probably approaching a dozen occasions right now, made it clear that our approach with Iran is comprehensive and diplomatic. And we’ve said it over and over, and people —
Q Why doesn’t anybody believe you? (Laughter.)
And in Your Daily Les, Kinsolving Hearts Slavery
Q Thank you, Tony. I have one question with three parts. The Associated Press —
MR. SNOW: For the record, note that groans have just filled the room. Proceed. (Laughter.)
Q Thank you. The Associated Press reported from Orangeburg, South Carolina yesterday that Hillary Clinton announced that the confederate flag should be removed from the war memorial in Columbia’s Statehouse grounds. And my question, does the President agree or disagree with this Hillary request?
MR. SNOW: The President is not going to get involved as pundit-in-chief in political campaigns.
Q Does the President believe that Mississippi’s state flag needs to be changed because it has the confederate battle flag and that the 15-star replica of the Star Spangled Banner, now flying at Fort McHenry, should be removed because it was the flag of a slave nation?
MR. SNOW: My goodness, Les; it hasn’t come up.
Q Well, I’m just raising it right now, and how does the President stand?
MR. SNOW: Thank you. Thank you. Believe it or not, I don’t have an answer for you on that. Continue, though.
Q Okay, last one. The name of George Washington — President Lincoln in 1842 said that, “The name of George Washington is the mightiest name on earth — long since the mightiest in the cause of civil liberty; still the mightiest in moral reformation.” You’re familiar with that statement?
MR. SNOW: No, but I’ll take it at —
Q Does the President believe President Lincoln was wrong in saying this because President Washington owned slaves?
MR. SNOW: Oh my goodness, Les. That’s — (laughter.)
Q You’d rather duck this, okay.
MR. SNOW: Paula, help me out. I go to Paula for help. (Laughter.) Go ahead. Paula asks good, tough questions. I like them. Go ahead.