Today Pony Blow gaggles with FEMA Director Dave Paulison by his side.
The Governor Didn’t Say What She Said, OK?
Q Could I start the questioning to Director Paulison? Is the National Guard stretched too thin to deal with natural disasters in the country?
DIRECTOR PAULISON: No, not at all.
MR. SNOW: It’s also important with regard to this to get the facts straight, because I think there’s been a narrative that equipment was not available. It was. The Governor has said so. She has said so on the record. It didn’t make it into some newspapers this morning, but she said it yesterday.
Q — available as quickly as they had —
MR. SNOW: It was immediately available. There were no shortages.
Q — a National Guard issue. And the Governor made very clear comments on this —
MR. SNOW: What you need to do is to ask the Governor, because the comments —
Q We had an interview with her.
MR. SNOW: Okay, then you better look at what she said yesterday. Because when she was asked, was there any shortage in this case, the answer was, no. What she was talking about was a — she was talking about a buildup in the National Guard, which she has expressed concern about. The President has given the largest commitment to increasing National Guard strength in the history of this country.
So set that aside for now. Please resist the temptation to try to create a political fight because there is none.
Q Is the Governor going to be there?
MR. SNOW: She’ll be with us.
Q How do you interpret her comments Monday? What do you think of them?
MR. SNOW: I suggest you take a look at the comments yesterday when she was asked directly, was there anything that you needed that you didn’t get, and the answer is, no.
Q That’s just this one case. What if there are four or five tornadoes that come across the Great Plains, and four or five Greensburgs — you have to run these scenarios if you’re FEMA and —
MR. SNOW: The Director just gave you the answer for that.
Q The Governor said — that’s fine, but this situation was handled — but if we have — it’s tornado season now. What happens if there are more than one —
MR. SNOW: There are scenarios here, and they have been assured that they’ll get what they need. Period.
Yet Chimpy Ain’t Talkin’ To Governor Sebelius
Q Has the President talked to the Governor of Kansas in the last 24 hours about —
MR. SNOW: No. Fran Townsend has, and Fran, yesterday, as well as others — I believe General Blunt of the National Guard has spoken with her, as well.
Is Cheney Going To Shoor Maliki In The Face?
Q Cheney’s visit to Baghdad today, what’s the purpose of it?
MR. SNOW: Well — what’s the purpose of it? He’s there — he’s meeting with General Petraeus, he’s meeting with the Prime Minister, he’s meeting with key officials in Baghdad. And one of the things he’s doing is not only reiterating support, but also saying something that I think a lot of Americans realize, which is it really is time for action; we’re here to help, let’s get going.
Q Is there going to be kind of warnings about the political situation in the United States, how political support over here is waning?
MR. SNOW: You know, I think what you — you’ve got to be careful what you try — because you’re dealing with a sovereign government that has it’s own political concerns, but on the other hand, I’m sure the Vice President — look, when the President talks to the Prime Minister, they’re candid with each other. They’re also practical. The point here is not to engage in stagecraft, it’s to engage in statesmanship. It is to find ways to work with this government so they can do things that are going to build confidence with the Iraqi people in terms of developing national unity and national capability, and certainly also developing confidence with the American people, as well.