Today On Holden’s Obsession With The Gaggle

Dana Says Chimpy Is Afraid Of Being Photographed With The Dalai Lama

Q Why not release the picture?

MS. PERINO: There’s going to be a picture of the President and the Dalai Lama that you’ll have tomorrow.

Q What about today?

MS. PERINO: They’ll be standing together in the Capitol.

Q But if it’s not that big a deal, and the President’s proud to —

MS. PERINO: We understand that there are very strong feelings that the Chinese have, and that they’ve reacted negatively to the fact the President will be going to this event tomorrow. But the President was clear that he would attend the event, as he had before. And we made a decision not to release a photograph today, but you are — it’s not that you’re not going to get a picture of the President and the Dalai Lama, because you’ll see them together tomorrow at the Capitol.

Q Was it a conscious decision not the release a photo, even though you —

MS. PERINO: We always make a decision whether or not to release a photo.

Q But it almost appears like a splitting the difference, that understanding that China is —

MS. PERINO: Well, I don’t know if the Chinese would feel that way. I think that they don’t want the event to happen at all. So I — but I think — it is going to go forward. The President will be there tomorrow. He’ll make brief remarks and he’ll have his picture taken there, too.

Q Is it a gesture to the Chinese to not release a photo, to limit the exposure —

MS. PERINO: I don’t know if they would take it that way. It was a decision we made on our own. They did not ask us not to release a photo.

Q And what is the basis of that decision, then? It’s certainly a story today.

MS. PERINO: The United States — we in no way want to stir the pot and make China feel that we are poking a stick in their eye, to a country that we have a lot of relationships with on a variety of — I mean, a good relationship with on a variety of issues. And if this is — this might be one thing that we can do. But I don’t have — I don’t believe that that’s going to assuage the concerns of the Chinese.


Q If I could just follow, you can judge by the number of questions here in this briefing that it is —

MS. PERINO: — lot of hot air tonight.

Q — the topic of the day. So why not release this picture today? It just seems like it’s happening today —

MS. PERINO: I understand and I’ll take it back up, if I can, but I believe that there will not be a photo today. You’ll get one tomorrow.

General Sanchez? Dana Don’t Know!

Q What’s the President’s reaction to General Sanchez saying that the Iraqi invasion is a total catastrophe?

MS. PERINO: Well, obviously General Sanchez had a good career with the military and the President appreciates his service. I think that, by any measure, if you look at Iraq today, where we’ve been because of the surge — where we’ve come because of the surge, we’re in a much better place today because of what General Petraeus has been able to do in providing the additional troops and getting the Anbar — Anbari sheikhs to turn against al Qaeda, reducing civilian death, electricity is up around the country. And so I think that anyone who had been there before and believed that there had been — the problems that they saw, the President wasn’t satisfied with it either. And that’s one of the reasons that General Petraeus was asked to come up and implement the President’s —

Q He said we’re just trying to stave off defeat.

MS. PERINO: The President believes that Iraq can become a country that will sustain, defend, and provide for itself.

Q How many more people have to die?

MS. PERINO: Well, we regret the loss of any innocent life.

Q Dana, are General Sanchez’s comments consistent with what advice and counsel he gave to the President when he was the commander on the ground in Iraq?

MS. PERINO: I’m not familiar with it. I don’t know.

Dana Handles Les

Q Thank you, Dana. Two questions. Senate Majority Leader — Majority Whip Durbin wants the so-called fairness doctrine returned because he says, “the airwaves belong to the American people.” And my question: Does the President know of any daily newspaper in the United States without a website, so that if the fairness doctrine was ever restored, all these newspapers would have to provide equal time?

MS. PERINO: I don’t know. You’ve stumped me. What’s your next one? Do it quickly.

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