Dana Peroxide’s Habitually Proclaimed Ignorance Pisses Helen Off
Q Dana, why did the Bush administration give immunity to the Blackwater guards, and is the administration going to hold these guys accountable for what transpired?
MS. PERINO: This is what I can tell you: Secretary Rice has made it very clear that she takes the situation very seriously. It is under review. She said that anyone who has engaged in criminal behavior will be prosecuted. I don’t have additional detail that I can provide for you, and I’ll have to refer you to the State Department and Justice Department for more.
Q Has the President been briefed on this, or what does he think? What is he saying?
MS. PERINO: I do not know if the President has been briefed on it specifically. I can ask.
Q Were they given immunity or weren’t they?
MS. PERINO: Helen, as I said, it’s a matter that’s under review.
Q (Inaudible) tough questions. Why can’t you answer them?
MS. PERINO: Because it is a matter that’s under review, and I’m going to refer you to the State or the Justice Department for more.
Q What do you mean “under review”? Why don’t you say yes or no?
MS. PERINO: The State Department is the one that is looking into this and they are the ones answering questions on it.
Q So the administration hasn’t decided whether or not the reports of that are true? You’re still looking into whether or not they actually were?
MS. PERINO: I am going to refer you to the State Department on that, who is looking into it.
Q As a general question, how could you both be offered immunity and promised prosecution?
MS. PERINO: Again, this is being — this is under review. It’s not something that I can talk about from here. Obviously, anyone who is engaged in criminal activity would be of a great concern and it’s very serious and it should be prosecuted. Let me let the State Department and the Justice Department answer further questions on it.
Q Also, what is being reviewed? Just so we’re clear.
MS. PERINO: The entire situation is being reviewed, from the incident to the aftermath of it. And I just don’t have anything more for you that I can say from the podium today.
Helen Tries Again, This Time Dana Flat-Out Refuses To Answer
Q Would the President seek an explicit green light from Congress if he intended to bomb or attack Iran, or does he think he has that right?
MS. PERINO: Well, Helen, there is no intention of bombing Iran. We are on a diplomatic track. We are working with our partners, the U.N. Security Council. We have provided them, the Iranians, a road map to get to a civil nuclear program. They have walked away from that. We are hoping that they’ll come back. We are both working with our U.N. Security Council partners as well as pursuing sanctions on our own, and there is not an intention to bomb Iran, as you said.
Q Does the President think he has the right to do it without going through Congress?
MS. PERINO: That is — it’s a hypothetical situation, Helen. I’m not going to answer it.
Q It’s not hypothetical. It’s concrete.
MS. PERINO: Go ahead. Sarah.
The Bush Assministration Hates Whistle-Blowers Almost As Much As They Hate Children
Q Dana, in the past two months, 13 million toys have been recalled. For those of us whose children are playing with those Thomas the Tank Engines that were painted in lead, that system failed us. Why is it that the administration would oppose a measure that would increase the budget, raise penalties and expand the authority of the Consumer Product Safety Commission?
MS. PERINO: Let me make something really clear. We, first of all, support modernizing and improving the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Q So there’s not an objection to that price tag? The administration isn’t —
MS. PERINO: Well, we don’t know what the price tag is going to be. I think we need to let Secretary Leavitt report back and digest that report and that action plan and then go forward from there. As you know, we don’t propose a new budget until February, but it’s not about the price tag; it’s about the policy, and there’s — just a couple of different policies in there, like the whistle-blower provision, that we think might incentivize people to wait until a problem is too severe so that they could get a financial award rather than stopping something immediately. So it’s just those particular provisions and it’s something that I think that we can work through.
Q I’m sorry, the whistle-blower provision and what else?
MS. PERINO: The — there’s a state Attorney General provision that would allow for 50 different jurisdictions to be able to go after civil penalties, which we think is probably unwieldy and would not serve consumers well.
Q Dana, a follow that. The whistle-blower provision, according to Al Hubbard’s letter, the primary complaint against this legislation is whistle-blowers could get 15 to 25 percent compensation on any civil damages, but that’s already in government, in play with the False Claims Act. And those who say that that is working, that’s causing people to come forward and report problems. So that’s had a track record of success. So why is the administration opposed to it, that people come forward if they see wrong-doings when children’s toys are being made or other products that could catch the problem then, before it ever gets to children’s mouths?
MS. PERINO: It could be that — you know, I don’t know if there was something duplicative in here or not, but we’ll try to get you more into the specific concern.
But They Really Do Hate Children
Q What about the provision that they want to see a ban on all lead in children’s toys? What does the White House feel about that?
MS. PERINO: Well, I think that there are some — there is some concern regarding how do you test for that. We are concerned about any lead levels that would be proven to be dangerous for children under the current scientific method that they have to evaluate how much lead is in a toy. And so I think that while we work with Congress on this, we’ll be identifying these — the two provisions I mentioned. And we’ll work with them on a lead provision, too.
Chimpy Never Submitted A Blanced Budget — Not Once
Q Dana, can I ask you about the President’s statement this morning, in which he blasted Congress for spending — or proposed spending that is skyrocketing, in his words. But according to even some conservative analysts, the President’s budgets have grown at twice the rate of even President Clinton’s, the fastest rise in spending since the Carter administration. So is this a little bit of the pot calling the kettle black here?
MS. PERINO: No, I disagree. First of all, what the President said today is that you can’t find a bill that they are contemplating up on Capitol Hill where they don’t want to include a tax increase.
But what I will remind you is that early on the administration, after September 11th, we did have to spend a lot more money on national security, and the President doesn’t apologize for that. However, when we had a Republican Congress, the Republican Congress worked within the President’s top line in terms of the appropriations bills, and that’s one of the reasons the President didn’t have to veto a bill.
Q But didn’t the President also usher in a new philosophy in which you could go to war and not have any tax increases, not have any additional revenue raised, or a corresponding sacrifice that was asked all across the —
MS. PERINO: Let’s remember something. The President is the one who is — who put in place pro-growth economic policies that have worked. The economy is moving forward with —
Q He was talking about the budget bill.
MS. PERINO: Well, what I’m saying is that he —
Q With a Republican Congress.
MS. PERINO: — but part of that economic policy was a tax cut in order to help drive revenue growth in this country, which has happened, and job growth has increased as well. We can — the President has shown a way that we can do both. The federal government has plenty of money. We don’t need to raise taxes on the American people. That’s the President’s bottom line.
Q So why won’t he — why wasn’t there a better record after having a Republican Congress for seven of his eight years?
MS. PERINO: But as I said — but I would disagree in terms of the record. The Republican Congress stayed within the President’s top line.
The President has had a good record working with Republicans, but the most important thing right now is to keep us on a track so we can get to a balanced budget — in fact a surplus by 2012. That’s the track we’re on and we’re only a few years away from it.
Les Has Been Reading Too Many Michelle Malkin Posts
Q How many of Southern California’s fires does the White House estimate as having been caused by arsonists? And how many of these are arsonists were illegal aliens?
MS. PERINO: You’ll have to — let me refer to California authorities. I think that there was at least one arson, but I don’t believe it was anyone who was an illegal alien.